Syria Peace Talks to Continue ‘as Planned’ into Next Week: UN Envoy

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Di MisturaThe UN envoy mediating a resolution to the crisis in Syria today announced that the latest round of peace talks will continue as planned through Wednesday, despite reports that the Saudi-led delegation could suspend its official participation.

“Bottom line, I plan to continue the proximity talks both at formal level and at technical level until next week, probably Wednesday as originally planned,” said UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura at a press conference in Geneva on the state of the intra-Syrian talks he has been mediating.

“We need to try until Wednesday to get as deep as possible in the areas we have been starting discussing” he added, noting that he thinks he will be in a position by the middle of next week to report on where negotiations are and what has been reached during this round of talks.

De Mistura also indicated that according to all “objective criteria,” the cessation of hostilities is still in effect: “I repeat, is still in effect. None of the sides have renounced to it […] But it is in great trouble if we do not act quickly.”

He reminded reporters that the central point of the talks is to get ideas, concepts, and a vision of what could be either the Transitional Governing Body or what the Government is referring to as the “Government of broad-base.”

“The secret for us and the usefulness of these proximity talks is to get the respective visions of what is their view of the political transition and that is what we have been working on,” he said, highlighting that the difference compared to past talks is that both sides are aiming for a political transition.

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