US, PYD head discuss Syria talks

State Dept. stresses importance of moving Syrian political process forward in talks with Salih Muslim

US, PYD head discuss Syria talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke to Salih Muslim -- the head of the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK group -- about "continued cooperation in the fight against ISIL in northern Syria," a spokesman said Monday.

In a telephone call, Blinken reinforced the importance of moving forward the political process for Syria, according to State Department spokesman John Kirby.

The call came just days after talks got underway in Geneva in an attempt to end the Syrian crisis. The U.S. considers the PYD "a reliable partner" fighting ISIL.

But Turkey, a NATO ally of the Americans, designates the group a terrorist entity. Before the Geneva talks began, the Turkish government announced it did not want the PYD at the table.

This dispute about whether the PYD or any Kurdish group would attend the talks was a factor in pushing back the negotiations from last Monday to Friday.

Nevertheless, the conference kicked off Friday under the leadership of UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura with a focus on setting up an interim Syrian government, forming a constitution and staging elections within two years.

Main Syrian opposition group, High Negotiations Committee (HNC), did not attend the meetings until Sunday, citing prerequisites that needed to be met, included ending airstrikes by Syrian and Russian forces and lifting sieges on towns.

After having officially met de Mistura on Monday, the HNC will await a response from the Syrian government on humanitarian steps before starting negotiations with the regime’s delegation.

In addition to the HNC, other Kurdish members will apparently attend the talks as advisors.

"We do understand that Kurdish figures are included among those additional invitations to non-HNC delegates, to attend in an advisory role," Kirby said. "So we're aware that there are some Kurdish representatives there in an advisory role."

The Turkish Foreign Ministry's Middle East Director General Can Dizdar will be in Geneva to follow the negotiations.

The Syria conflict began in 2011 and has led to the deaths of more than 250,000 victims and displaced 10 million others, according to the UN. 

Last Mod: 02 Şubat 2016, 09:31
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