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Syria peace talks to continue next week

The UN special envoy for Syria said on Friday that he planned to continue with peace talks next week

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The UN special envoy for Syria said on Friday that he planned to continue with peace talks next week, probably until Wednesday, but said there were “worrisome trends on the ground”.

The envoy, Staffan de Mistura, said a ceasefire in the Syrian conflict could definitely get back on track “but will require urgent efforts”.

And De Mistura said it was time to call a ministerial meeting of the major and regional powers of Syria as three legs of talks in danger.

Meanwhile US President Barack Obama said Friday he was “deeply concerned” at the prospect of a truce in Syria coming to an end.

“I am deeply concerned about the cessation of hostilities fraying and whether it’s sustainable,” he said at a press conference in London with Prime Minister David Cameron.

He added: “The cessation of hostilities actually held longer than I expected, and for seven weeks we’ve seen a significant reduction in violence inside that country and that gave some relief to people.”

Obama said that “if in fact the cessation falls apart, we will try to put it back together again even as we continue to go after ISIL”, referring to ISIS.

He added: “I have always been skeptical about (Russian President Vladimir) Mr Putin’s actions and motives inside of Syria.

“He is, along with Iran, the pre-eminent backer of a murderous regime.”

The landmark partial ceasefire was negotiated by the United States and Russia and took effect on Feb. 27.

(With AFP, AP and Reuters)