Switzerland: Russian UN envoy deems first day of Geneva Syria talks "constructive"

Russia's permanent representative to the European office of the United Nations, Aleksei Borodavkin, summarised the first day of the Syria peace talks as "constructive," in Geneva on Friday, following a meeting with UN mediator Staffan de Mistura.
In the meeting the sides discussed tactics for the so-called proximity talks - negotiations that would avoid disagreements between rival parties.
"The problem now is that the Moscow-Cairo group insists that the negotiations are also joined by representatives of the Syrian Kurds. And we support that, because not a single point on the agenda can be discussed without the Syrian Kurds," the envoy pointed out, while noting that some of the participating "regional powers" want the Kurds to be excluded from the negotiations. "No one should give in to this blackmail," Borodavkin stated.
He went on to criticise Saudi-Arabia for putting forward preconditions for the talks to start. "There should be no preconditions for the start of the Syrian talks," the envoy emphasised.
The latest attempt to reach a political solution to the Syrian conflict began in Geneva on Friday with armed opposition groups meant to participate for the first time. However, their representatives did not arrive for the meeting.