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Intra-Kurdish dialogue facing its most difficult stage

HASAKAH, Syria (North Press) – A new round of Syrian intra-Kurdish talks is expected to begin soon, amid obstacles and a difference in visions between the negotiating parties who repeating that the Kurdish unity is a strategic goal.

“60% of the administrative partnership is dissolved prior to the suspension of talks,” the Kurdish National Council (ENKS) leader Suleiman Osso stated during a ENKS meeting in Qamishli on February 13.

The talks were suspended for months due to the US diplomatic team’s preoccupation with the presidential elections that ended with the victory of Democratic candidate Joe Biden.

SDF Commander Mazloum Abdi launched the intra-Kurdish talk initiative to unify the Kurdish position in Syria in late 2019.

Both the Kurdish National Council in Syria (ENKS) – the main opposition coalition in the Autonomous Administration regions – and the PYD-led Kurdish National Unity Parties (PYNK) took part in negotiations reaching a political understanding in June 2020.

The talks are based on the framework laid down by the two parties in the 2014 Duhok Agreement, which was signed in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq to establish a new administration in Syria’s predominantly Kurdish north; the agreement was never implemented due to disputes between the two signatories.

However, since its beginning of the talks, they have been accused of being deliberately obstructed by the two negotiating sides.

However, the final agreement has not been completed yet, despite the passage of ten months since the start of the dialogue that was launched in April of 2020.

SDF leaders and the US State Department’s representatives in northeast Syria are sponsoring the negotiation sessions between the two parties.

In September, both PYNK and ENKS have reached understandings about forming a Kurdish unified position for the Kurds of Syria, but intra-Kurdish dialogue was suspended due to the American guarantor’s travel to the US for the presidential elections.

The two parties are expressing their readiness to complete the negotiations.

At the beginning of February, the sponsors met with each delegation separately, to get acquainted with the views before going into direct sessions between the two parties.

It is expected that the two parties will complete their discussions on the mechanism for joining the Kurdish National Council to the Autonomous Administration.

Muhammad Musa, a member of PYNK, told North Press that the ENKS delegation made it clear to the sponsors that the PYNK are required to apologize to the Council for the incidents of burning their offices.

Unknown persons burned a number of offices of ENKS parties in a number of cities in northeast Syria during the period in which the talks were suspended, and no party claimed responsibility for the incidents.

In mid-December, ENKS held the Internal Security Forces (Asayish) in the Autonomous Administration responsible for burning its offices, through a statement it issued at the time.

Osso criticized “traitorous statements issued by officials of the PYNK” against ENKS and Rojava Peshmerga, in an interview with North Press, asking that they apologize.

Rojava Peshmerga is a military force located in the Kurdistan region of Iraq (KRG), formed after the war that broke out in Syria, and ENKS demands their return to northeastern Syria.

According to previous statements by negotiators, the discussion of joining ENKS to the Autonomous Administration will be followed by solving the issue of Rojava Peshmerga.

Musa considers the SDF as the military body authorized to make remarks regarding this matter.

However, he stressed their readiness for dialogue and said, “We are convinced of dialogue. The disputed points can be resolved.”

Osso also attributed the timing of the start of the direct talks to the guarantors, and said, “This is due to their ability to bring the other party to the negotiating table.”

In exclusive statements to North Press on Tuesday, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) General Affairs Office official Redur Khalil said that they would abide by the intra-Kurdish initiative as a guarantor to reach a “national agreement.”

He said, “The two parties reached serious steps during the past sessions as we hope to reach an agreement according to fixed national terms in the coming phase.”

Reporting by Hosheng Hassan

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