UN envoy to Syria: ‘I found a solution for Assad knot’

De Mistura expressed his regret at the suffering of the Syrian people

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The UN’s special envoy to Syria told al-Hadath, the sister channel of Al Arabiya News, that he had found a “solution for [Syrian President Bashar] Assad knot,” without elaborating on his newly found answer over the Syrian leader’s iron hold on power.

“Assad knot” is a term used by mediators who are trying to find a solution between the Syrian regime, which is insisting that Assad must stay, versus the country’s opposition which stipulates that the leader must go for any real political solution to take place.

In an exclusive interview conducted near the UN headquarters on Wednesday in New York, Staffan de Mistura said a looming August deadline for peace talks and upcoming US presidential elections means that a political solution must be found urgently.

He highlighted the UN’s plight to finally drop aid to besieged areas across Syria, as well as the hope that cessation of hostilities will be reinforced and maintained across the region and respected by all warring factions.

De Mistura expressed his regret at the suffering of the Syrian people, while also claiming the five-year war as being the cruelest one. While the NGOs and struggling citizens are losing hope day by day, the UN Syrian envoy insists that a bridge is in sight, one that would allow both sides to come together and a political transition can be met.

Here are some of the main points Mistura discussed in the interview:

* “You know who is the last casualty of the Syrian war? Brexit. When you look at it the consequences of this conflict which have been going on for five years is affecting everyone, even producing a sense of concern in European countries to the point of reaching that type of consequence, so the hope is based on the fact that I know there is a sense of urgency, a sense of urgency in finding a political solution.”

* “This is crunch time, July time, August, September will be the last General Assembly of the Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the last General Assembly of President Obama, there will be a moment when perhaps in the G20 President Obama and President Putin will meet.”

* “I do intend to have the intra Syrian talks in July - but I want them well prepared. Only then I announce them.”

* “The Special Envoy of the UN is a mediator, the mediator is supposed to be creative enough to find where are the differences between the two sides and see whether there can be a bridge in order to help both sides to climb down the tree and come up with some area where negotiation can take place.”

* “I want to believe and I think I have reasons to believe that both Russia and the US - who are crucial because they are the co-chairs - have both an urgent vested interest in avoiding this conflict starts again and becomes open ended.”

* “Now in the besieged areas we had 18 locations which were besieged and just today - there is actually being an announcement that even those last two have been reached. Is that enough? No. But is that very different from a year ago.”

* “Ideally, the cessation of hostilities should have been holding much longer but in those two months many lives were saved and we were able to prove it can be done. The most dangerous thing in this conflict is when people say -it cannot be done; it is impossible- It was done, and it needs to be repeated.”

* “The ceasefire is failing but it has not totally failed. I feel that with sufficient moral pressure on both sides there is a possibility of recalling it.”

* “Civilians should not be dying any more in this conflict. They should not be victims of barrel bombs. They should not be victims of also the canisters which have been thrown on the other side. I say that we together and the public opinion should be, like we have been doing, putting more pressure on both Russia and the US to actually come up again with the same deal they were able to do on 26 February. It is not impossible.”


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