21:58 GMT +325 September 2017
    The delegation of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) and U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura are seen at the start of a meeting during Syria peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in this March 17, 2016 file photo

    Ex-EU Advisor: Syria Talks in Geneva 'Certain to Fail'

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    Former European Union advisor Paolo von Schirach claims that Staffan De Mistura’s peace program looks certain to fail because of the gap between the Syrian government and the main opposition parties.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — UN Special Envoy to Syria Staffan De Mistura’s peace program looks certain to fail because of the gap between the Syrian government and the main opposition parties, former European Union advisor Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

    "If the success of the Geneva Syria peace talks is based mostly on UN Envoy De Mistura's powers of persuasion, this is an utter waste of time," Schirach said on Friday. "The proximity talks that he is conducting will go absolutely nowhere."

    In the proximity talks in Geneva, the Syrian government and opposition delegations both negotiate separately with de Mistura, but never talk directly to each other, Schirach pointed out.

    "The Syrian government and the High Negotiating Committee, the broad coalition of Syrian opposition forces backed by the Saudis, cannot agree on absolutely anything of substance. In fact the only success of the talks is that they are ongoing," he argued.

    The five-year Syrian conflict, which has cost the lives of a quarter of a million people, remained a "zero-sum" struggle that could only be ended by the clear victory of one side over the other, Schirach maintained.

    "The only way to end this conflict is for one of the key parties to admit, explicitly or implicitly, that they lost; and that therefore they are willing to accept whatever crumbs they are offered, and that they will agree to call this deal a ‘reasonable solution’," he insisted.

    Because of the success of Russia’s airstrikes in support of the Syrian army, incumbent President Bashar Assad was now certain to emerge as the victor from the conflict, Schirach maintained.

    "Like it or not, given the balance of forces on the ground, and Putin's open-ended support for Assad, the rebels have to admit defeat. With its direct military intervention a few months ago, Russia has made it clear that it will not allow Assad to sink and be defeated," he said.

    By contrast, the rebel opposition forces fighting Assad lacked a strong and consistent supply of weapons and equipment they needed, Schirach observed.

    "The Saudi-backed rebels, fragmented and disunited as they are, cannot count upon unconditional military and financial support from their Arab sponsors. And by now, they should have understood that the United States will not step in to change the situation on the ground," he pointed out.

    The rebels needed to recognize "the writing on the wall" and realize that they had no way to impose their political solutions to the ongoing civil war, Schirach concluded.

    Paolo von Schirach is a Professor of International Relations at BAU International University in Washington, DC, and publisher and editor of the Schirach Report.


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