UN envoy hopes for start of substantive Syria talks in October

GENEVA (dpa) - Substantive negotiations on a political solution to the Syrian civil war could finally start in October, UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said Thursday in Geneva.
In several previous rounds of UN-brokered talks in Geneva, the Syrian government and opposition failed to enter into actual talks about political change in their country.

Before the October talks, the two sides might come to Geneva in September for a short meeting, just before world leaders gather in New York for the annual UN General Assembly on September 18.
"We may be eventually focusing on the agenda for the real, substantive talks that we hope will take place in October," UN Syria envoy de Mistura told reporters.
De Mistura said he hoped the liberation of al-Raqqa from the hands of Islamic State extremists would proceed until the October talks.
In addition, the UN diplomat placed hope in current efforts by Syrian opposition groups to unify into one platform that can negotiate with the government.
Russia and Iran, which are backing Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, should use their influence to get the government to finally enter into substantive talks, de Mistura added.
De Mistura also announced that the Russian Foreign Ministry offered in early August to deploy its military police along UN aid delivery routes in Syria, to prevent convoys from being stopped.
Fifty aid trucks reached Douma city on Thursday, in what was the first convoy that Russia facilitated in this manner.
"I am expecting and hoping that this will become a pattern," de Mistura said.

Friday, August 18th 2017

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