Kurdish officials say peace talks in Geneva will fail without them

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Syrian Kurdish politicians leading a demonstration in Derik city. File photo

ARA News

Kurdish officials say that the Geneva peace talks will fail if they do not include representatives from the local administrations in northern Syria.

Abdulkarim Omer, the head of foreign relations for Cizire Canton, said that that “any international conference to resolve the Syrian crisis” must include the Kurdish people or it “will not succeed and will be doomed to failure.”

Omer added that “a democratic transition from dictatorship to a federal democratic system is the only way to eliminate terrorism.”

Sihanok Dibo, a Democratic Union Party (PYD) official, concurred and said that the “Syrian peoples know that any negotiation regarding Syria without the representatives of the Kurdish people is a dangerous step.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seems to agree, saying on Thursday that the peace talks in Geneva would not be successful without Kurdish participation –referring to the PYD.

The formal start of intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva is scheduled for February 23. Russia is pushing to include a separate opposition delegation sponsored by Moscow and Cairo. That delegation could include PYD representatives.

However, Turkey and the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) have indicated that they oppose this plan and want to sideline the administrations in northern Syria.

On February 10, the HNC offered Moscow and Cairo one seat each, which according to the TASS news agency, was rejected. Russia’s state news agency said that Moscow wishes to alter the composition of the delegations to make them more inclusive.

An opposition delegate told ARA news that Ankara is pressuring the Syrian opposition delegation to exclude the PYD. While the PYD will most likely be kept away from Geneva, three envoys from the Kurdish National Council (KNC) will be present.

Doctor Kamal Sido, a consultant at the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), told ARA News that all Kurdish factions should be included in the Geneva talks.

“I don’t know if Geneva 4 will succeed. Turkey, the Syrian Islamists and pan-Arabist parties are trying everything to exclude the PYD, YPG and SDF from the peace talks,” he reasoned. “The PYD, YPG and the SDF have a project opposed to the Islamist project of Erdogan and the Syrian National Coalition.”

Yekiti politician Zara Salih told ARA News that he had misgivings about that the Geneva conference, as he doubted whether it would lead to a political settlement. “I think it will be difficult to reach a political solution, but Turkey and Russia could exert pressure on both [the opposition and the Syrian regime].”

“Despite the ceasefire, there are still many ongoing battles in several areas,” the Kurdish leader continued. “I think [the participants] can ensure stability and the implementing of the ceasefire all around Syria, but a final political solution seems far away.”

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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