U.N. envoy needs to find out if Syria sides have ‘appetite’ for peace
The U.N. envoy to Syria said he will know by the end of June if there is any appetite among the opposing sides to find a peaceful way out
The United Nations envoy to war-torn Syria said Friday that he will know by the end of June if there is any appetite among the opposing sides to find a peaceful way out of the conflict.
During closed discussions with the 15-member U.N. Security Council, Staffan de Mistura acknowledged that the “odds and conditions for launching a political transition are no better now than six months ago,” diplomats at the briefing said.
The Damascus regime and opposition forces are not showing “much new willingness to negotiate” in the four-year war that has left 220,000 people dead, de Mistura said, according to diplomats.
But the U.N. “remains convinced” about the need for a political solution and the envoy will hold separate consultations with the Syrian government, opposition groups and regional powers including Iran from May to see if they are ready for negotiations.
ISIS, which has grabbed large areas of Syria in a brutal campaign, will not be consulted.
“We cannot just wait, there is no excuse to wait... despite the lack of progress we remain convinced that the only way to do so is a stress test, to test the willingness to narrow the gap (between the parties),” de Mistura told reporters.
“By the end of June we will be in a position to reassess if there is any convergence on the issues of substance.”
A U.N. spokesman said earlier that the new round of meetings would begin May 4. These consultations will last four to six weeks, said U.N. spokesman Ahmad Fawzi.
Iran, which was excluded from two international conferences on the conflict, has been invited.
“Iran is a major player in the region, it has influence in Syria,” said de Mistura, whose latest efforts come after a failed initiative to negotiate local truces in the field, starting in Aleppo.
“The freeze in Aleppo has not worked but it is still on the table because we’ll consider any option to reduce violence,” he said.
Jolie pleads for Syria refugee helpThe United Nations says about 440,000 people are besieged in Syria’s civil war Middle East
ISIS militants down regime aircraft in south SyriaThe plane went down east of Khalkhalah airport, the only air base in Sweida province, a stronghold of the Druze minority Middle East
U.N. invites Syrian parties to peace talks in Geneva in MaySyria’s ally Iran is among those invited, says U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura Middle East
Qaeda, allies advance on regime in northwest Syria: monitorThe assault, which began Thursday, has seen Al-Nusra front and allied groups seize four checkpoints around the city of Jisr al-Shughur Middle East
U.S.-led strikes have killed 2,079 people in Syria: monitorThe Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a majority of the deaths, some 1,922, were ISIS fighters Middle East
Rebels launch new Syria offensiveSeveral hardline Syrian rebel groups pushed a new offensive against government forces in northwestern Syria Middle East
Rebel seizure of Syrian border post hits exporters across regionSyria was once a crossroads for trade between Europe and the Arabian peninsula Analysis