The United Nations special envoy to Syria has met with the Syrian foreign minister as part of diplomatic efforts to find a political solution to the four-year conflict gripping the Arab country.
Staffan de Mistura met with Walid al-Muallem in the Syrian capital city of Damascus on Thursday to brief the top Syrian diplomat over his latest discussions and meetings with senior officials of multiple countries amid his efforts to facilitate a peaceful settlement of the deadly crisis, official SANA news agency reported.
The development comes as de Mistura is expected to present an update on his peace efforts to the UN Security Council on July 28.
During the meeting, Muallem expressed support for the UN envoy’s initiative to help resolve the crisis in Syria, adding, however, that Damascus will continue to firmly stand against terrorism.
“Syria still considers the end of terrorism, and the drying up of its financial resources and support, to be among the country’s most essential priorities,” SANA quoted Muallem as saying.
The UN envoy arrived in Damascus a day after discussing the situation in Syria with senior Iranian officials in Tehran.
De Mistura visited a number of other countries earlier this month, including China, Turkey and Egypt, as part of his efforts to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria, which has reportedly claimed the lives of over 230,000 people so far.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat was appointed in July 2014 to take over as mediator for the conflict in Syria, after two top-notch diplomats, Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi, quit their post following unsuccessful attempts to bring an end to the deadly crisis.
This is while some Western governments and their regional allies have contributed to the rise of terrorist groups operating against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria food crisis
The visit by the UN envoy comes as over the past few years, several organizations have repeatedly issued warnings about the humanitarian situation in Syria.
In a joint report published on Thursday, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warned of worsening food insecurity in the Arab country, saying that the ongoing crisis is pushing more people into poverty and hunger.
Approximately 9.8 million Syrians are estimated to be “food insecure,” with 6.8 million of them “severely food insecure,” according to the report.
The report further added that despite favorable rains boosting Syria’s 2015 wheat harvest compared with that of the previous year, it is still 40 percent lower than pre-conflict production levels there.
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