PARIS, Jan 27 – France’s foreign minister said on Wednesday the United Nations’ special envoy to Syria had told him that he would not be inviting Syrian PYD Kurds to peace talks in Geneva and that a Riyadh-backed opposition group would lead the negotiations.
“Mr (Staffan) de Mistura sent invitations … the PYD group was causing the most problems, and Mr de Mistura told me he had not sent them an invitation letter,” Laurent Fabius told France Culture radio.
Fabius said de Mistura had also confirmed to him that a Riyadh-formed opposition group would lead negotiations even though other opponents could also be present.
“I spoke to Mr (Riad) Hijab (opposition coordinator)… he will respond to De Mistura and Ban ki-Moon this morning. If I understand their position, they say yes to negotiations … and at the same time want details to be given in terms of who is participating, what’s being done on the humanitarian front and what we are going to talk about.”
France has been a key backer of moderate opposition forces battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has been advising them on how to prepare for proposed U.N.-backed talks expected to begin on Jan. 29 involving the Syrian government.