Issue Brief on “Geneva 4: Talks about talks?”

“The train is ready, it is in the station, it is warming up the engine. Everything is ready, it just needs an accelerator”[1]

This was stated by UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Syria Staffan de Mistura at the conclusion of the Geneva negotiations. These talks were essentially a peace dialogue between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition under the patronage of the United Nations. The Syrian opposition groups comprised of the High Negotiation Committee, (HNC) the main umbrella group as well as the so-called Moscow and Cairo groups[2]. Also known as Geneva 4, the negotiations were held from February 23- March 3, 2017. These talks – the first since April 2016 – were the latest effort to seek to end a conflict that began in March 2011 with protests against Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad. The conflict will enter its seventh year on March 15. Since then, more than 310,000[3] people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled the country, promoting instability in neighbouring countries and creating Europe’s biggest migrant crisis since World War II.

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