UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura speaks at a press conference at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, July 14, 2017. (Xu Jinquan/Pool Photo via AP)
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U.N.-led Syria talks have a chance of making progress because demands for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad have receded, Russia's ambassador in Geneva, Alexei Borodavkin, told reporters Saturday.Over the past year the opposition suffered military defeats at the hands of forces loyal to Assad, and neither U.S. President Donald Trump nor French President Emmanuel Macron is calling for his immediate ouster.Assad's negotiators at the U.N. talks have avoided discussion of any kind of political transition, preferring to focus on the fight against terrorism.They have not yet had to negotiate directly with the opposition because there is no unified delegation to meet them, since the HNC and two other groups, known as the Cairo and Moscow platforms, all claim to represent the opposition.The three opposition delegations' leaders have been meeting to try to find common ground, raising hopes of direct talks at the next round in September.
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