GENEVA: Syria’s warring sides said Wednesday peace talks in Geneva had taken a positive turn, but there were still deep divisions on what the focus of the negotiations should be.
Delegations from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the opposition National Coalition both said a fifth day of talks had gotten off to a “positive” start.
They said the discussion finally focused on the Geneva I communique — the never-implemented roadmap to peace put out by global powers during talks here in 2012 — but appeared to disagree about what aspects of the text they had discussed.
“Today we had a positive step forward because for the first time now we are talking about the transitional governing body, to end dictatorship and end the fighting and the misery in Syria,” opposition delegation spokesman Louay Safi told reporters.
The opposition maintains that creating the transitional government called for in the Geneva I communique must be the first step towards a political solution, and insists implementing the document requires Assad to leave power.
The regime denies the text requires Assad to step down and says his role is not up for debate at this conference.
Regime delegation member Buthaina Shaaban confirmed that talks on the Geneva communique had begun Wednesday and had been “positive”, but said this was “because they spoke about terrorism”.