Syria talks end with 'incremental progress' but 'no breakthrough' - United Nations envoy

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The U.N. envoy on Syria says the seventh round of talks aimed at helping end the country's six-year-old war wrapped up Friday, and they featured "no breakthrough, no breakdown, no one walking out, incremental progress". The opposition's disarray is one reason Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's representatives have refused to negotiate with them.

Assad's delegation, led by Syria's United Nations ambassador Bashar Al Jaafari, has declared the president's fate off limits.

The head of the Syrian governmental delegation at the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Bashar al-Jaafari, described today as useful the seventh round of talks, in which the fight against terrorism was discussed by the parts.

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.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura announced the conclusion of the latest round of the Syria peace talks, saying that the next round will convene in September.

Mistura wants to merge the opposition camps before pushing for direct talks with the government, which he said he hopes might occur in the next round of talks he said would occur in September.

"I have asked the parties to be ready to offer clear, substantive positions on issues across all four baskets, and we hope that we will be at least pushing them to sit in the same room".

Bill Van Esveld, senior children's rights researcher at the US -based Human Rights Watch, said Wednesday that "as long as no one is held responsible for such repeated unlawful attacks, it's likely they will continue".

This week's talks were held as a ceasefire was in effect in southwest Syria.

Jaafari said his side focused on "counter-terrorism" as well as "technical, legal and constitutional discussions" during this round.

The HNC again blasted the government for stalling the process.

He also said he has got no indication so far from the Syrian government delegation on their readiness to address the issue of political transition issue.

The sides have been meeting separately with de Mistura and his team, never speaking face-to-face.

In New York, France's ambassador to the UN, Francois Delattre, said a contact group would aim to support de Mistura's efforts.

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