December 1, 2017 / 4:58 PM / a year ago

Syria wants opposition to withdraw statement before talks -envoy

BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian government cannot engage in serious talks in Geneva until the opposition withdraws a statement that demands President Bashar al-Assad play no role in an interim government, the Syrian envoy to the talks said on Friday.

“We cannot engage in serious discussion in Geneva while the Riyadh statement is not withdrawn,” Bashar al-Ja’afari said in a televised interview with al-Mayadeen TV.

The government delegation earlier quit the talks, blaming the Riyadh statement, which rejected any role for Assad in any interim government.

Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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