Syria opposition calls second day of UN talks “constructive”

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A general view of the opening of the renewed intra-Syrian Talks between representatives of the Government and those of the opposition in Syria. The talks, which will focus on governance, a new Constitution and elections, are being mediated by the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura (third from right).

Talks to decide the future of Syria continued into a second day at the UN in Geneva with the issues of detainees and continuing humanitarian concerns emerging as key sticking points for the opposition, it has emerged.

Describing their meeting with UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura as "constructive", the main opposition’s High Negotiation Committee – or HNC – said that getting humanitarian aid into areas that had received nothing for years was key.

The discussions also tackled the substantive issue of Syria's political transition.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva:

As the second day of peace talks came to an end in Geneva, the HNC said it believed that UN negotiator Staffan de Mistura "has a strategy" that will bring the warring sides together.

But the HNC's George Sabra said that much depended on three key issues: the release of detainees held by the government, extending humanitarian aid and deciding on how Syria's future government is to be formed.

Speaking through an interpreter, the HNC negotiator said that details had been handed over on how it envisaged Syria's political transition, and that it was now up to the government of Bashar Al Assad to do the same.

"We welcome all the impressions that Mr de Mistura has from his meetings with the regime…I believe he has a strategy to bring the points that are common to both sides to focus on those and build some common ground. Now for that to make that happen we need the regime to make those propositions in a clear, stated way."

Earlier, Staffan de Mistura indicated that even though the distance between the negotiating parties was as he put it, "still quite big" there appeared to be a new international willingness to see a resolution to the conflict, which has left more than 250,000 people dead after five years of fighting.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’15″

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