Wednesday, February 22

De Mistura getting too tough on the High Negotiating Committee these days?

February 22, FARS:
TEHRAN (FNA)- Informed sources in the United Nations disclosed on Wednesday that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres intends to remove UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura from his post, Arab media said.
The Arabic language Al-Mayadeen tv channel reported that UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag will probably replace de Mistura, while it also named another nominee, former UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar, for the same post.
The channel added that appointment of a new envoy for Syria depends on the endorsement of both Damascus and Moscow, stressing that the issue may take time.

Lebanon, eh? I wonder if Hariri was behind it, Hariri being a Saudi stooge. But if Nasrallah or Aoun were behind it the intra-Syrian talks should speed along like lightning with a Lebanese U.N. envoy for Syria. (Lebanon's President Aoun is pro-Assad, as is Hezbollah leader Nasrallah. The Lebanese Prime Minister, Hariri, is of course anti-Assad.)

Remember this? 

U.N. Envoy Signals That Riyadh Is Obstructing Syria Peace Talks
January 20, 2016
Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia is sidelining the diplomat charged with ending the brutal Syrian civil war — and complicating the push toward a deal. 
In a barely veiled swipe at one of the Middle East’s leading powers, the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria accused Saudi Arabia of undermining his efforts to bring a broad slate of Syrian opposition groups to upcoming peace talks designed to end Syria’s brutal civil war.
In his confidential Jan. 18 briefing to the U.N. Security Council, which was obtained exclusively by Foreign Policy, Staffan de Mistura said Riyadh is complicating his efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict by trying to tightly control which opposition groups will be allowed to participate in the negotiations.
His comments came shortly after a slate of Saudi-backed Syrian opposition groups, organized under the banner of the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee (HNC), rebuffed his personal appeals to allow other groups to take part in the talks. De Mistura complained to the council that the Saudi-backed opposition coalition and its “sponsors insist on the primacy and exclusivity of their role as ‘THE’ opposition delegation.”
While de Mistura did not name Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is the main international sponsor of the HNC. The group, however, is backed by France, Turkey, and Qatar.

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