Syria peace talks on Feb. 25 unrealistic: UN envoy
Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 19, 2016 1:41PM
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura says the resumption of the new round of peace talks on the conflict in Syria scheduled for next week is not realistic.
"I cannot realistically call for new Geneva talks starting on February 25," de Mistura was quoted as saying in a telephone interview from Damascus with the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet reported on Friday.
"We need 10 days of preparations and invitations," the UN official stated.
The first round of indirect peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition ended on February 3. A second round was slated for February 25.
De Mistura said "real" peace talks between the concerned parties were needed to resolve the issue, and "not just talks about talks."
"I would like that the US and Russia, with their partners, agree about a beginning of a cessation of hostilities between today and mid-next week," he said, adding, "Now the ball is in their court."
Western supporters of the Syrian opposition, as well as the opposition itself, have called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria as a pre-condition for the participation of the opposition in the Geneva talks.
The no-fly zone proposal comes as the Syrian army, backed by Russian air cover, has made significant gains against Takfiri militants on several fronts, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.
In response to the flying-ban proposal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said any no-fly zone should be first approved by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and endorsed by the UN Security Council.
De Mistura also warned against other countries' unauthorized military intervention in Syria and emphasized the danger of the conflict spreading across the region.
"Turkey is complicating everything and it might complicate things further … Any type of further conflict along the border of Syria has the potential to spin out of control," he said.
Turkey, on Thursday, carried out cross border bombardment of positions of Syrian Kurdish fighters.
The foreign-sponsored conflict in Syria has reportedly claimed the lives of nearly half a million people and left about two million injured.
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