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De Mistura: Geneva and Astana Processes Support Each Other

July 6, 2017 (EIRNS)—UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura had nothing but praise for the fifth meeting on the Syrian ceasefire in Astana, despite Western news media characterizations of it as a failure. In De Mistura’s view, there was, indeed, progress made at the meeting, even though the documents on implementation of the de-escalation zones were not signed, and that this process is crucial to the next meeting in Geneva, which convenes on July 10.

He argued that the two processes reinforce each other.

"Astana is particularly meant for producing a ceasefire, what they call a de-escalation, and that is why we believe that Astana does deserve patience and support, and there is more energy and time required—and we are with them in trying to make sure this will happen,"

he said during a press conference after the meeting closed on July 5. He said that while necessary, de-escalation is an interim step. "What is needed in order to sustain is progress on the political side," and that is very much facilitated if there’s a cease fire on the ground that is holding.

"You can imagine having a Geneva meeting in the middle of escalation instead of de-escalation. That would’ve not helped," De Mistura said in response to a question.

"I don’t see that happening I hope, and therefore I believe this meeting is, as we always thought, an opportunity of mutually supporting Geneva and Geneva supporting Astana because as I said, without a political process even de-escalation is not sustainable."