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Staffan de Mistura

Assad negotiators meet UN envoy at Syria peace talks

GENEVA: Syria's government met with United Nations envoys on Wednesday for talks aimed at ending the civil war, in a small boost for the negotiations that Damascus had threatened to boycott. The government had initially refused to confirm it would attend the talks, which began on Tuesday, after the rebels signalled they would continue to insist on President Bashar al-Assad's ouster. But a government delegation held initial meetings with UN mediator Staffan de Mistura in Geneva on Wednesday, reportedly after securing…

Fresh Syria talks slated for July 10 amid slim hopes for progress

GENEVA: A fresh round of UN-sponsored Syria peace talks will begin on July 10 in Geneva amid slim hopes for progress towards ending over six years of bloodshed. UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura also said he intended to convene further talks in August and September, adding¬†meetings on constitutional and legal issues will continue alongside the formal sessions. The last round of UN-sponsored peace talks finished on May 19 with De Mistura telling the UN Security Council that "important gaps remain between the parties…

UN Syria envoy says talks have set agenda for progress on peace

GENEVA: Syria's first U.N.-led peace talks in almost a year ended on Friday without breakthrough but the United Nations mediator said the warring parties now had a clear agenda to pursue a political solution to the country's six-year-long conflict. Both sides could point to small victories. The opposition said that the question of political transition was seriously addressed for the first time, while U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said counter-terrorism - an issue pushed by President Bashar al-Assad's delegation - had been…

UN envoy questions US engagement on Syria

MUNICH: UN envoy Staffan de Mistura on Sunday questioned US President Donald Trump's engagement in solving the Syrian conflict, just days ahead of crucial peace talks in Geneva. "Where is the US in all this? I can't tell you because I don't know," he said, adding that the new administration was still trying to work out its priorities on the issue. The US' top three priorities include fighting Islamic State militants, "how to limit the influence of some major regional players and how to not to damage one of their major…

UN dismisses rumours that Syria envoy has quit

GENEVA:¬†The United Nations on Thursday dismissed rumours that its special envoy for the Syrian conflict, Staffan de Mistura, had resigned. "Media reports that Special Envoy de Mistura is resigning his post are not accurate. The Special Envoy remains fully engaged on his mission," the UN said in a statement. Arabic media had reported earlier Thursday that de Mistura had handed in his resignation for personal reasons. The 69-year-old was named to the post in July 2014, charged with the daunting task of trying to find…