De Mistura: Meetings in Geneva are consultations, not peace talks

Geneva, SANA – UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the talks which began in Geneva on Tuesday regarding the situation in Syria are consultations, not peace talks, and that a delegation from the Syrian government was invited to them along with 40 Syrian sides and 20 international sides.

In a press conference held in Geneva on Tuesday, de Mistura stressed the need to exert all possible efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, adding that the results of the meetings will be evaluated by the end of June.

He noted that the situation on the ground hasn’t changed since Geneva 1, but new sides like ISIS have entered the conflict.

Regarding his plan to freeze fighting in Aleppo and the humanitarian situation in it, the envoy said that the plan didn’t succeed so far because the circumstances weren’t suitable, but this issue is still on the table.

De Mistura said that the consultations held in Moscow and Cairo were beneficial to efforts towards reaching a political process, and that discussions must be held with all Syrian and international sides with the involvement of civil society organizations.

He also stressed that these Geneva meetings don’t constitute a conference or Geneva 3, have no beginning, middle, and end, and it’s not expected to produce any major final announcements. However, these meetings constitute close talks with all relevant sides to discuss the crisis in Syria, see what may lie in the future, and look for ideas regarding the future, all of which should lay the groundwork for a solution.

De Mistura asserted that this effort is serious and diligent and that it will produce achievements occasionally, adding that more invitations may be sent to other sides to join the talks in order to engage as many sides and listen to as many opinions and viewpoints as possible.

The consultations in question began on Tuesday, with de Mistura holding separate talks with different sides at the UN headquarters in Geneva away from media coverage, with only the UN media team given permission to take a few pictures and capture footage. The preliminary stage of the consultations is expected to last for five to six weeks.

Hazem Sabbagh

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