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16.02.03 - Press Release of the Office of the Special Envoy for Syria

3 February 2016


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Geneva (3 February 2016)- The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, has announced a recess in intra-Syrian talks as of the end of Friday, 5 February. The talks are to resume in Geneva no later than 25 February, and possibly much earlier. In the interim period, the Special Envoy shall undertake intense consultations with concerned stakeholders, including women and civil society.

During the course of this week’s preparatory phase it was made clear to all parties that the agenda is Security Council resolution 2254 (2015). However, the Special Envoy expected to see progress on the implementation of a number of possible humanitarian initiatives, both within the talks and on the ground. Substantive discussions on these matters in Geneva were held up by unresolved procedural issues.

“In recessing the talks the United Nations make it clear that the alleviation of the suffering of the Syrian people remains our top priority, and the Secretary-General has reiterated this very important point on several occasions,” the Special Envoy said. “The United Nations is not prepared to hold talks for the sake of talks. Such talks can only be meaningful if they also deliver immediate tangible benefits to the Syrian people,” Mr. de Mistura emphasized.

“I sense a strong commitment on the part of many of our international partners to ensure that these humanitarian obligations are implemented. I shall call on the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) to address these and other matters, including the call for a national wide ceasefire to be launched in parallel to talks, in the upcoming ISSG meeting next week,” he added.

Mr. de Mistura will leave tomorrow to attend the London conference.