Syria: in Geneva fifth round of govt and opposition talks

Presidential elections by May, Assad towards new term

26 January, 17:08

    BEIRUT - The fifth round has begun of inter-Syrian, UN-mediated talks to revise the constitution as part of international diplomatic efforts to bring together the positions of the central government of Damascus and those of the opposition in exile.

    Syrian and pan-Arab media cited sources from the two delegations present in Switzerland according to whom the sides have little faith in the effectiveness of the talks mediated by UN special envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen.

    Syrian sources said this is due to political pressure by the respective foreign allies of the Syrian parties, which have been in an internal and regional conflict that has caused about a half-million deaths and has pushed about 10 million people to abandon their homes.

    Presidential elections in Syria are predicted to take place between April and May.

    Local analysts said President Bashar al Assad, who has been in power for 21 years, will be renewed as head of state for another seven-year term, until 2028.

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