March 9, 2016 / 3:25 PM / 2 years ago

Syrian opposition says peace talks agenda positive

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The main Syrian opposition council said on Wednesday the agenda proposed by the United Nations for peace talks was positive and it had noted fewer government violations of a cessation of hostilities agreement in the past day.

Salem al-Muslat, spokesman for the opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC), would take its final decision on whether to attend the Geneva talks very soon.

Speaking after U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said the talks would focus on new governance, a constitution and elections, Muslat said it was positive that the talks would “start ... with discussion of the matter of political transition”.

“We heard what Mr. de Mistura said. There are positive points, there are matters on the ground that we notice are moving in a positive way,” he said.

He said aid was entering more areas, describing that development as “positive ... if not complete”.

Referring to the cessation of hostilities agreement that took effect on Feb. 27, he said: “The violations of the truce were great at the start, but yesterday they were much fewer. There are perhaps some positive matters that we are seeing.”

But he said a government blockade of the Damascus suburb of Daraya must be lifted in order to “pave the way to the start of negotiations”. He added this was not a condition for the attending the talks but a humanitarian requirement.

Reporting by Tom Perry/Lisa Barrington; Editing by Dominic Evans and Alison Williams

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