Syria's U.N. ambassador and chief negociator Bashar al-Ja'afari (R) arrives for a meeting with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria during the Intra Syria talks in Geneva, on December 1, 2017. / AFP / POOL / DENIS BALIBOUSE
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Syria's government delegation quit U.N.-led peace talks in Geneva Friday and said it would not return next week unless the opposition withdrew a statement demanding President Bashar Assad play no role in any interim postwar government.Jaafari said the Riyadh statement was a "mine" on the road to Geneva, and the opposition had purposefully undermined the negotiations.The government delegation had initially refused to confirm it would attend the talks and then arrived a day late, reportedly after securing key concessions, including keeping Assad's fate off the table.The opposition, which held brief talks later with U.N. officials, rejected Jaafari's charge that it was seeking to undermine the talks, and said it sought a "political solution".Nasr Hariri, the opposition delegation chief, said earlier Friday that his side had come to Geneva for serious, direct negotiations with Assad's government. So far, government and opposition delegations have not negotiated face-to-face in any Syrian peace talks but have been kept in separate rooms.
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