GENEVA (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — However, it is still unclear whether de Mistura is still aboard this train himself, as the his contract as UN Special Envoy expires on March 31 without an official statement yet made from either UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres or de Mistura himself on whether the mandate has been prolonged.
GETTING DOWN TO SUBSTANCE
This latest round of talks, which started on March 23, revolved around the four core groups of issues of debate, or baskets, which were designated during last month's talks: governance, constitution, elections and counterterrorism. All four baskets were to be discussed in parallel, as de Mistura put it.
Although the delegations spent the first days of the talks accusing each other of not being serious and prioritizing one key topic of discussion above the others, de Mistura said that, in the end, all sides addressed all issues and went into details and substance.
"All invitees have gone into considerable detail in substance… They were serious and they engaged. Even though they deny it, I know," de Mistura told reporters summarizing the round.
Getting down to substance, however, was a hard pill to swallow for the HNC delegation. Its National Coordination Committee (NCC) could not come to a consensus with the Kurdish representatives in the HNC delegation on a common vision of governance and political transition. As a result of this discord, the Kurds decided to freeze their participation in the delegation and its meetings.
They may soon decide to fully separate from the HNC, which would aggravate the situation with the Kurdish representation at future talks.
EXCHANGE OF NON-PAPERS
As in previous rounds of talks, the latest one in Geneva looked like a continuous exchange of non-papers.
The United Nations, on its end, produced a non-paper summarizing the commonalities of all delegations' visions. Vitaly Naumkin, a Russian adviser to de Mistura, and Deputy UN Syria Envoy Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy contributed to the summary. De Mistura specified that the United Nations has no plans on making the non-paper public at this moment.
MYSTERIOUS FUTURE OF DE MISTURA
However, Sputnik learned from various sources that de Mistura's mandate has been prolonged for six more months.
The next round of intra-Syrian negotiations is expected to take place days after the upcoming meeting on Syria in Astana on May 3-4. The date will be announced by de Mistura after his consultations with the UN Security Council on April 6-7.