Syrian peace talks expected to start January 25: UN envoy

Published December 27th, 2015 - 07:00 GMT

A new round of peace talks to end the conflict in Syria should begin on January 25, United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Saturday.

In setting this "target date," the UN mediator said he expected the full cooperation of all the relevant Syrian parties.

"The people of Syria have suffered enough," de Mistura said, according to a UN statement. More than 250,000 people are estimated to have been killed since the war began in 2011.

More than half of Syria's pre-war population of 22.4 million people have been internally displaced or forced to flee their homeland.

On Thursday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in Beijing that his government was ready to take part in the UN-sponsored talks "without foreign interference" with the aim of resolving the country's five-year conflict.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution earlier this month endorsing a plan for a peace process in Syria, calling for talks to begin in January and tasking the United Nations with aiding the implementation and monitoring of a nationwide ceasefire.

The resolution, which came at a summit of 17 foreign ministers in New York, rubber-stamped a plan agreed to in Vienna last month that would lead to the establishment of a transitional government in Syria within six months and new elections within 18 months.


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