UN Envoy Seeks Incremental Steps From Resumed Syria Peace Talks

The UN Syria envoy said Friday that while he didn’t expect a breakthrough in the latest round of Syria peace talks, he would rely on headway made earlier this month to help pave the way towards brokering a political end to the Syrian conflict.

“Regarding our objectives, I will try to be careful about expectations as we were on the fourth round. I’m not expecting miracles, breakthroughs or breakdowns,” Staffan de Mistura told press in a stakeout.

“What I am expecting is building on the fourth round, with some incremental, constructive steps,” he added.

The fifth and latest round of UN-mediated political talks resumed Friday in a bid to broker a political end to the six-year Syrian conflict which has killed over 310,000 people and displaced millions of others.

The last time the sides convened in the Swiss city was earlier this month, with invitees agreeing on the agenda going forward after nine days of proximity negotiations.

This includes addressing issues of governance, constitution, elections, as well as counter terrorism, security and confidence building measures.

De Mistura said that opening bilateral meetings with both the Syrian government delegation and its opposition counterpart had enabled parties to touch upon issues of substance.

The Syrian government delegation, headed by Bashar al-Jaafari, has said from the outset that “counter-terrorism basket” should be prioritized considering the situation on the ground in Syria.

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), one of Syrian opposition groups engaged in the political process, has emphasized the need to focus discussions on the issue of political transition.

“All of them have to talk about all four baskets, no one can exclude the other baskets, that’s the deal and a ruling supported by the UN Security Council,” de Mistura reminded.

He also confirmed that in a bid to gain maximum support from regional stakeholders, he will travel to Jordan on March 27 to meet with Arab League members.



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