Russia says PYD Kurds could join Syria talks later

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Syrian PYD Kurds may take part in a later stage of Syrian peace talks in Geneva but have not been invited to the first round of discussions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Wednesday.

United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura told France’s foreign minister earlier on Wednesday he would not be inviting the Syrian PYD Kurds, or Democratic Union Party, to the talks due to take place on Jan. 29 and a Riyadh-backed opposition group would lead the negotiations.

“Invitations to the first stage of the Syria talks were not sent to the Democratic Union Party, but de Mistura has reserved them a place, he means to invite them at a later stage,” Interfax news agency quoted Gatilov as saying.

Russia has said it would be unfair to hold the talks without the Syria’s powerful Kurdish faction which controls wide areas of northern Syria, as well as other individuals it believes represents Syrian society.

Reporting by Jack Stubbs; Editing by Christian Lowe