The Syrian government told a U.N. envoy Saturday that it would participate in the Jan. 25 peace talks to be held in Geneva, reports said. The U.N. special envoy had reached Damascus Friday to discuss the peace negotiations between President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition forces.
Syria’s Foreign minister confirmed the attendance at the Geneva talks during a meeting with UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan De Mistura, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported. The Syrian government, however, stressed that they would need to see a list of the opposition groups who will attend the meeting and the "terrorist" groups who will not, the Associated Press reported. All those fighting to overthrow Assad are labeled terrorists by the Syrian government, which has reportedly claimed that the focus of the talks should remain on how to battle terrorism.
As a part of the peace deal, the opposition wants Assad to step down from his post.
The Geneva conference would follow increased tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran, who support opposing sides in Syria's conflict. U.N. officials feared the tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran could worsen the violence in Syria.
Last month, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution endorsing a transition plan for Syria, showing unity among world powers that support different sides in Syria’s civil war, ABC News reported. While Russia supports Assad, the U.S. has been asking for the leader to step down from his post.
The U.N. has been urging both the sides in Syria to end the five year-long civil war that has killed over 250,000 people and displaced half the country’s population.