December 15, 2017 / 7:33 PM / 10 months ago

U.S. says it wants Syrian government to negotiate 'seriously' with opposition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday urged supporters of the Syrian government to press it to “participate fully” in negotiations with the opposition, saying a lack of a political resolution in the war-torn country threatened indefinite instability.

FILE PHOTO: Syrian ambassador to the United Nations and head of the government delegation Bashar al-Jaafari and a member of his delegation prepare notes prior to the start of a meeting with the UN Special Envoy for Syria during Intra Syria peace talks at the U.N. in Geneva, Switzerland December 14, 2017. REUTERS/ Fabrice Coffrini/Pool

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the State Department said the United States wanted the government’s supporters “to use their leverage to urge the regime to participate fully in tangible negotiations with the opposition in Geneva.”

“The United States urges all parties to work seriously toward a political resolution to this conflict or face continued isolation and instability indefinitely in Syria,” spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

A United Nations negotiator characterized a round of peace talks that ended on Thursday as a missed opportunity, and he laid most of the blame at the feet of Syria’s government.

Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Eric Walsh

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