Chinese Diplomat demands shared responsibility for extensive Syria peace talks

Syria's main opposition group will not allow terrorism to be added to the agenda of sputtering UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva, its delegation head said Wednesday.

Also on Monday, the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura met separately with government and opposition delegations.

Sources added that the drafted constitution will not be approved without holding a popular referendum.

Later on Wednesday, Hariri is expected to meet Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, which one Western diplomat said would be a "milestone", noting that a year ago Russia - like Syria - regarded the opposition as terrorists.

Lawmakers said a western-sponsored draft resolution demanding sanctions against the Syrian government over allegations that it has used chemical weapons in the Syria conflict is aimed at derailing intra-Syrian peace talks, a new round of which started on Thursday under the United Nations auspices.

"There have been really deep discussions, for the first time", he said.

"Novelty of the current situation in Geneva is that the sides have agreed to de Mistura's proposal to consider the issues concurrently, that is all the issues", he added.

His paper reiterated that issues related to the ceasefire and fighting terrorism are to be the focus of separate talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana, which are sponsored by Russian Federation and Turkey with the support of another Assad backer, Iran.

Resolution 2254 sets out a political transition process including plans for a new constitution, United Nations -supervised elections and transparent and accountable governance.

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Hariri accused the government of using increased violence on the ground to foil talks in Geneva.

Salem al-Muslet, a spokesman for the High Negotiations Committee, quickly responded to Russia's position and said: "The issue of terrorism does not need negotiations, but was used by the regime delegation to lengthen the process of the talks".

"Things aren't going as smoothly as we would want" in the Geneva talks, President Vladimir Putin told reporters Tuesday during a visit to Kyrgyzstan.

"The fight against terrorism is a priority and should be on the agenda (in Geneva) along with other issues", said Gatilov.

"Today, we will have a meeting with Russia's deputy foreign minister".

Aides to de Mistura told Al Jazeera that another round of Russian-led multilateral meetings in the Kazakh capital of Astana would start again on March 14.

Iran and Assad are openly opposed to Russia's more flexible stance, which it sees as necessary to involve the USA and its allies in a post-war reconstruction and secure an exit strategy for its military campaign in Syria, said Shumilin of the Institute for US and Canada Studies.

Gatilov also said Moscow is open to discussions with the US over Syria.

"While the Iran-Russia-Turkey diplomatic push has created new hopes for the settlement of the conflict, the United States and its allies are increasing efforts to escalate tensions and prevent a breakthrough", Jamali said.

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