Syrian peace talks expected to resume soon

Syria oppositionGENEVA, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) — The Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria issued a statement late Wednesday night, saying that the intra-Syrian talks are to resume in Geneva no later than Feb. 25 and possibly “much earlier.”

Hours ago on Wednesday the UN Special envoy for syria Staffan de Mistura announced that the date for the resumption of the talks had been set for Feb. 25.

The latest statement from the Envoy’s office said that in the interim period of the talks, the Special Envoy will undertake intense consultations with concerned stakeholders, including Syrian women and civil societies.

“The Special Envoy expected to see progress on the implementation of a number of possible humanitarian initiatives, both within the talks and on the ground,” the statement said, adding that “substantive discussions on these matters in Geneva were held up by unresolved procedural issues.”

“In recessing the talks the United Nations make it clear that the alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people remains our top priority, and the Secretary-General has reiterated this very important point on several occasions,” the office cited the Special Envoy as saying.

“The United Nations is not prepared to hold talks for the sake of talks. Such talks can only be meaningful if they also deliver immediate tangible benefits to the Syrian people,” emphasized the Envoy.

“I sense a strong commitment on the part of many of our international partners to ensure that these humanitarian obligations are implemented. I shall call on the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to address these and other matters, including the call for a national wide ceasefire to be launched in parallel to talks, in the upcoming ISSG meeting next week,” he added.

The office also confirmed that de Mistura will leave Geneva Thursday to attend the 2016 Supporting Syria and the Region Conference in London.

Also on midnight Wednesday the Syrian opposition delegation, supposed to leave Geneva also on Thursday, issued a statement alleging that the United Nations Special Envoy has tonight “been forced by the Assad regime’s murderous campaign of bombing to pause his efforts to end the Syrian people’s suffering.”

“There will now be three more weeks of slaughter before we resume, unless the international community acts,” it said, adding that every day until Feb. 25, “more men, women and children will be killed and more will be forced to flee Syria to save their lives.”

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