Deputy UN Special Envoy for Syria meets with regime and opposition delegations

Published March 23rd, 2017 - 04:00 GMT
Syrian opposition forces near Raqqa, 2017. (AFP/ Delil Souleiman)
Syrian opposition forces near Raqqa, 2017. (AFP/ Delil Souleiman)

Deputy UN Special Envoy for Syria Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy met on Thursday separately with regime and opposition delegations ahead of the formal start of a fifth round of peace talks in Geneva.

Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura is due to arrive from Ankara on Thursday evening ahead of “substantial discussions” planned for Friday, Ramzy confirmed.

The UN on Tuesday urged those attending this week’s Syria peace talks to engage “substantively and proactively”.

“All invitees who had already attended the previous round of talks in February 2017 have confirmed their participation,” de Mistura said earlier this week.

Among previous attendees were delegates for the Syrian regime, headed by Bashar al-Ja’aafari, and representatives of the opposition, led by Nasr Hariri from the High Negotiations Committee.

Thursday’s agenda was to focus on governance, constitutional issues, elections, security and confidence-building.

De Mistura previously urged the participants to “do the necessary preparations in advance of the fifth round to be ready to engage substantively and proactively on the substance of all four baskets on the agenda in parallel”.

The last round of talks began on Feb. 23 and ended on March 4 without any clear result.

Since civil war in Syria erupted in March 2011, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to the UN. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.


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