Syria peace talks pushed back to April 13: UN

7th April 2016, Comments 0 comments

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday that the next round of peace talks will begin on April 13 after he completes a diplomatic tour, including stops in Damascus and Tehran.

The United Nations had previously said that the negotiations in Geneva would resume on April 11 after the last round ended on March 24.

De Mistura told journalists that meetings with key regional players and Syria's government were crucial before the next round begins and that he expected to return to Geneva on April 12 or 13.

"I need to verify the international and regional stakeholders' position" in order to have "concrete results in the next round of talks", de Mistura said.

The main obstacle is the future of President Bashar al-Assad.

The opposition High Negotiations Committee has said Assad must go before a transitional government is agreed, while the regime insists that his fate be excluded from the talks.

De Mistura met with key regime ally Russia in Moscow this week, and will head to Tehran in the coming days for talks with another crucial government supporter.

He also plans to meet Turkish officials in Europe by the middle of next week. Ankara has emerged as one of Assad's main foes.

The UN envoy said he has not requested a face-to-face meeting with Assad in Damascus, but expects to hold talks with Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.

© 2016 AFP

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