Mogherini demands progress in Syria peace talks

EU foreign policy chief meets Syria's regime and opposition, underscores the urgency of a political solution in the country.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini

The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Wednesday met with Syria's regime and opposition and underscored the urgency of a political solution in the country, especially in the wake of the Brussels attacks, AFP reported.

Mogherini came to Geneva, where peace talks are under way, following a request from United Nations peace talks mediator Staffan de Mistura, making an EU call to both sides that the flagging negotiations move forward.

"It is important not only for the Syrians, but for the Europeans that this process starts, works and delivers," Mogherini told journalists.

She added that Tuesday's bombings in Brussels, claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS) group, had put renewed focus on global efforts to combat the jihadists.

"If we want to tackle this threat, we need... to accelerate and consolidate our common work to put an end to the war in Syria, and concentrate our forces on (ISIS)," said Mogherini, according to AFP.

The regime's lead negotiator Bashar al-Jaafari described his talks with Mogherini as "the first direct meeting with (a) high representative of the European Union... since the crisis began."

The EU official stressed that the Jaafari meeting did not imply a change in Europe's stance towards President Bashar Al-Assad's government.

Asked if the EU still insisted on Assad's departure as part of any peace deal, Mogherini said, "The European Union sticks to the common position it has... on the need for a political transition in Damascus.”

"I think I'm clear enough," she added. "There is no change in policy."

The main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has made Assad's departure a non-negotiable demand before any peace deal can be agreed and, in fact, insisted he must step down “dead or alive”.

But Syria's regime, however, has insisted that peace talks in Geneva will not address Assad's future, with Jaafari saying this week Assad “has nothing to do with the talks.”

Mogherini on Wednesday also met with the HNC, which is supported by the EU.

AFP contributed to this report.