The UN special envoy to Syria has said that Saudi Arabia is complicating his efforts to bring opposition groups to the upcoming peace talks, the Foreign Policy reported.
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.
The daily described the remarks as a “barely veiled swipe” at Saudi Arabia.
“The truth is that the parties remain locked in fixed positions and a ‘zero-sum’ game,” de Mistura told the 15-nation council in a closed-door briefing Monday.
“Parties disagree not only on substance, but what concerns me is that they also question that the UN could or should exercise its discretion in ‘finalizing’ the opposition list.”
“I would expect all sides to recognize my mandated responsibility to finalize a list of invitees to the process, to include all those I deem appropriate,” said de Mistura, who told CNN on Wednesday that the talks, originally scheduled for Jan. 25, might be delayed.
“The Secretary General and I have no chance in succeeding, or even making a dent, if others do not do their parts too.”
Security Council members privately voiced sympathy for de Mistura’s predicament, but said it is unlikely that they will issue a public statement in support of his authority.
“He has an impossible mandate,” said one council member, the Foreign policy reported.
“He is not fully empowered.”