First Published: 2017-02-15

PYD says Syria negotiations won't work unless Kurds present
Co-chair of Kurdish Democratic Union Party says Turkey could undermine Syria peace, Kurds ready to participate at UN-sponsored talks in Geneva but have not yet been invited
Middle East Online

Abdullah said 'everyone must take part' to resolve Syria's crisis

MOSCOW - Syria peace talks set for next week in Geneva will be a failure unless the Kurds are at the table, a representative of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) said on Wednesday.

"It's clear that if we want to resolve the Syrian crisis, everyone must take part," said party co-chair Asya Abdullah, after a conference in Moscow involving Kurdish representatives from Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey.

"Any decisions taken without us are ones we will not be required to abide by," she added, speaking in Kurdish through a Russian translator. "But then, resolving the Syrian crisis will be impossible."

The Geneva meeting, set for February 23 under the auspices of the United Nations, is expected to focus on the political future of Syria, where more than 310,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011.

Already having been delayed by several days, the talks are mired in disagreements between stakeholders such as Turkey and the Kurdish party, whose armed wing YPG fights the Islamic State group in northern Syria as well as Ankara's forces.

The Kurds are ready to come to Geneva but have not yet been invited, said Abdullah, who added that Ankara could undermine the peace efforts.

"Where there is Turkey there cannot be any solution, because all of Turkey's efforts are directed towards keeping Kurds from gaining anything," she said.

The Kremlin stepped up support of the Kurds during its falling out with Ankara over the downing of a Russian military plane at the Syrian border in 2015.

While Moscow has made peace with Turkey and began cooperating with it over Syria, the Kurdish issue remains a source of friction with Ankara.

Talks brokered by Russia and Turkey involving Damascus and the opposition are also set to get underway in Kazakhstan on Thursday, but the Kurds have not been invited to those talks either .

 

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