Syria to attend peace talks in Geneva


The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to attend upcoming peace talks in Geneva according to a letter obtained by Al Jazeera from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem.

The letter was sent to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon outlining conditions under which the Assad government would be willing to participate in the negotiations scheduled for Jan. 22.  The talks hope to end the bloody three year civil war that has raged across much of Syria.

In the letter the Syrian foreign minister points out that his government disagrees with some of the points included in an invitation from the Secretary General to join the peace talks.  He claims that fighting terrorism was a high priority for Assad’s government and calls on all nations to cease supporting terrorist groups.

A central opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition has said the letter will undermine the efforts of the peace talks.  US Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to convince the group to attend the peace talks but the group has yet to confirm its participation.

The peace talks being dubbed ‘Geneva II’ have yet to attract all the factions within the conflict as many are unsure if they are willing to engage with Assad’s government.  Infighting among the many factions of opposition parties has made diplomatic progress difficult.


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