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Syrian gov't: No direct talks with opposition

Syrian gov't: No direct talks with opposition

"We made, as we were expecting and hoping, incremental progress".

The seventh round of intra-Syria talks aimed at helping to end the country's six-year-old war wrapped up with "no breakthrough, no breakdown".

De Mistura says Assad's envoys claim to be the only ones talking about the fight against terrorist groups, but the envoy says no side should have "ownership" of that issue.

The UN Syria envoy closed the latest round of sputtering peace talks on Friday insisting "incremental progress" was made, driving hope that face-to-face negotiations between rebels and the Damascus regime may soon be possible.

De Mistura noted the precursor to the latest Geneva talks included a May meeting involving Russia and Turkey in Astana, Kazakhstan, followed by an agreement earlier this month in Amman brokered by the United States, Russia, and Jordan for a ceasefire in southern Syria, which coincided with the G20 summit in Hamburg where Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his USA counterpart Donald Trump.

The head of the Syrian government delegation, Bashar al-Jaafari, said on Friday that his team has not been asked to hold direct talks.

De Mistura said he has not seen any indication that the government is willing to talk about forming a new government in Syria but voiced hope that global pressure could move the needle.

Syria's main opposition group has striven unsuccessfully to put the talks' spotlight on "political transition" in their country, something sought by a UN Security Council resolution in December 2015.

It is hoped that the government and the opposition representation will return to Geneva for the eighth round in August, in a process sponsored by the United Nations with priorities such as elections, the new Constitution, inclusive governance and the struggle against terrorism on the agenda.

The first three were set out by the Security Council, while terrorism was added at the government's insistence.

The UN-led peace talks in Geneva are important in the process for a political solution to the Syrian conflict and the most important thing now is to maintain the peace process in a sustainable manner without disruption or stalling, China's special envoy on the Syrian issue Xie Xiaoyan told Xinhua.

He says he has asked Assad's envoys "to be ready to address the political process" in the next session in Geneva.

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