Turkish President Erdogan slams UN delay of Geneva talks

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticises United Nations’ latest decision to delay Geneva talks once again

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks after receiving Honorary PHD during a ceremony at the San Ignacio de Loyola University in Lima, Peru on Feb. 3, 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly criticised the latest delay of the Geneva talks by the United Nations, which has failed to bring opposition delegation and Syrian regime representatives to the same building at the same time in Geneva.

“Why do you come together? You have gathered [in Geneva] in order to delay the talks and distract world’s attention? The world is expecting [a concrete] result from you. Why have you gathered in Geneva?” Erdogan asked in a speech on Wednesday during his visit to Peru, which is the second stop of his Latin America tour.

UN Syria envoy Staffan De Mistura said on Wednesday evening that the peace talks have been suspended until February 25th.

De Mistura had designated several different dates for the beginning of the talks. First, he said the talks would be started on Jan. 25 which he later switched to Jan. 29.

However, the talks could not make a complete start on Jan. 29 because of the continuous Russian bombardment of civilians and opposition forces which have been strongly protested by the Syrian opposition delegation which was represented by the newly established High Negotiations Committee (HNC).  

Eventually, the talks have been held as of Sunday with the participation of some HNC members who have indicated that as long as Syrian regime aggression backed by Russian air strikes continue, the talks would not be meaningful.

Erdogan has declared that the talks could not bear fruit “while Syrian people are dying under heavy attacks waged by the Syrian regime and its supporters and before this suffering ends.”

"Talks would not be meaningful if there is no benefit for the Syrian people," De Mistura said following a meeting with the opposition delegation in a Swiss hotel on Feb. 3.

"I have concluded frankly that after the first week of preparatory talks there is more work to be done, not only by us but by the stakeholders," he added.

De Mistura previously stated that the long-planned Geneva talks would be designed to last for six months beginning with proximity talks during which the respective UN officials would mediate between Syrian regime representatives and opposition members who would supposedly sit in separate rooms.  

Before the troublesome talks were launched De Mistura claimed that their first priority is to secure "a broad ceasefire" for the five-year Syrian civil war which has killed more than 260,000 people and internally displaced 8 million. Nearly 5 million people have also fled the country to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

TRTWorld and agencies