UN envoy: Syria election ‘in 18 months’

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said he planned to launch substantive peace talks on Monday

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“All sides of the Syrian population will participate in the upcoming elections,” Staffan de Mistura, the United Nation’s special envoy for the Syria crisis, said during an interview on Friday with Al Hadath, the sister channel of Al Arabiya News Channel.

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said he planned to launch substantive peace talks on Monday, focusing on issues of Syria's future governance, a new constitution and elections which he said would take place 18 months after March 14, 2016, under the surveillance of the UN.


De Mistura spoke of the strong role women would play during the elections. He said Syrian refugees would also be able to vote in the elections.

He emphasized that there is "only one plan. Plan A was aimed at enhancing the existing ceasefire, delivering aid to besieged areas, and holding constructive talks between all parties which would ‘come to draw Syria’s future’.

According to De Mistura there is no plan B, the only alternative he said was “returning to the war which resulted in 300.000 killed, 1m injured and millions of displaced people,” an option he said he did not support.

But the UN’s special envoy to Syria remains optimistic. He said: “There is a higher chance to solve the Syrian crisis because of the support from Moscow and Washington.”

The Syrian opposition has demanded the release of 170 women and children prisoners as a good will initiative by the Syrian regime. De Mistura, said that opposition "as well hols prisoners from the other side. We would work on that in the coming days."

See the full interview with Staffan de Mistura here

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