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PRESS RELEASE


De Mistura: Syria Talks To Begin in Geneva on
March 14

March 11, 2016 (EIRNS)—Staffan De Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, laid out his perspective on the Syria talks in Geneva in an interview with Sputnik on March 10. He stressed that an agreement on a new all-inclusive government would be one of the key points during upcoming peace talks, now set to begin on March 14.

"The most important point is the three-point agenda, which has been defined by the Security Council and which the Russian Federation adopted, too, which is resolution 2254. The first one is an all-inclusive new government,"

he said.

"The second one is a new constitution and the third one is new elections in 18 months from the beginning of the talks, so from the 14th of this month, to provide both parliamentarian and presidential elections and the UN supervision in 18 months. So my hope is that we may progress, on paper or not on paper, but to progress on, at least, on the first item during the first phase of these talks,"

de Mistura said.

Issues that remain unresolved after the March 14-24 talks between the Syrian government and the opposition will be discussed in the format of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), de Mistrua went on.

"Any progress that we will make or any difficulty we will face, and we are going to face difficulties because the sides are far away still, will be confronted and brought to the attention of the ISSG and if that is not sufficient, it can be brought to the attention of the [UN] Security Council."

He expects the ISSG to meet again sometime in March or April "in light of what we will be achieving and in light of the progress which, I hope, will continue to be there of the cessation of hostilities."

De Mistura’s plan is that after the first round of talks break on March 24, the second round will begin a week to ten days later, after the consultations with the ISSG and, if necessary, the UNSC. In any case, on March 24, the cessation of hostilities in Syria will have held for about three and-a-half weeks, during which time the Russian teams in Syria will have further paved the ground for a political settlement.