UN sets date for next Geneva talks

Orient Net - Agencies 2017-03-09 04:41:00

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Assad regime and opposition groups are invited to resume peace talks in Geneva on March 23, the UN envoy for Syria said Wednesday, according to AFP.

Staffan de Mistura announced the date after reporting to the Security Council on the results of the last round of talks on ending Syria war.

“My current intention is to bring the invitees back to Geneva for a fifth round, with a target date of the 23rd of March,” de Mistura told reporters after the meeting.

The new round will focus on governance, constitutional process, elections and counter-terrorism and there may also be discussions on reconstruction, said de Mistura.

The European Union and the United Nations will host a conference in Brussels on April 5 on Syrian reconstruction but the assistance will only start flowing once a political transition is in place.

Russia, Turkey and Iran are expected to convene a new meeting in the Kazakh capital, Astana, to prepare for the Geneva talks. Previous rounds of peace talks have hit a wall over the future role of Assad.

The UN envoy sounded cautiously optimistic, saying that while there were no “miracles” during the last round, “we achieved much more than many people had imagined we could have.” “No one left. Everybody stayed. They were focused. We got an agenda. We got a timeline and we got some agreement, even on substance,” he said.