Cracking through a lack of trust between the two delegations is a primary obstacle, de Mistura told reporters, saying he doesn’t expect miracles. He also acknowledged “work to be done” to unite the fragmented opposition.
De Mistura says he plans to hold separate talks with the two sides Friday, trying to devise a plan that could lead to talks over governance, a new constitution, and elections sought by the U.N. Security Council.
But the diplomatic initiative in the Swiss city — known as Geneva IV following three rounds that failed amid renewed fighting last year — comes at a time of new violence on the ground in Syria.
“We face an uphill task. It will not be easy. There is a lot of tension and there is a lot suffering that everyone has been bearing, but we must apply ourselves to this task,” de Mistura said. “We do know what will happen if we fail once again: More deaths, more suffering, more atrocities, more terrorism, more refugees.”