The Guardian reports: UN-sponsored Syrian peace talks are facing a new crisis after opposition negotiators decided to delay their participation in the formal process until officials representing President Bashar al-Assad start to discuss the creation of a transitional government in Damascus – which they have so far refused to do.
Riyad Hijab, head of the opposition higher negotiations committee (HNC), was due to announce next steps after a meeting with the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, which followed tense consultations in a divided rebel camp. But a scheduled evening press conference with Hijab was postponed until Tuesday.
De Mistura, clearly seeking to play down the significance of the decision, said the opposition negotiators would remain in Geneva and the talks would continue, though possibly informally and outside the UN headquarters at the Palais des Nations. But key opposition officials, sceptical about the prospects for the future, were already planning to leave town. [Continue reading…]