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UN envoy says 'real substantive' peace talks on Syria scheduled for Oct

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-18 09:17

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura addresses a press briefing after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on Aug 17, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]

GENEVA - UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Thursday said that he may sponsor a "preparatory" round of peace talks on Syria in Geneva next month, but the "real substantive" talks will be scheduled for October.

Speaking to a press briefing after a meeting of the International Syria Support Group's Humanitarian Access Task Force, the UN envoy said that though the new round of Intra-Syria Talks may still possible in September as planned, his office "will be focusing on the real agenda for the real substantive talks that we hope will be taking place in October".

"You will have Astana probably end of August, you will have early September the Holy Eid, then you will have possibly the Geneva talks if we feel the timing and the appropriate moment is there," he said.

"Then you will have the General Assembly which is taking place just between the 18th September onward where very likely there will be a discussion and quite at a high level regarding the next steps about Syria," he added.

The UN Envoy told reporters that he expected the Syrian opposition, now being divided into three delegations, to hold a key discussion soon so as to form a more unified negotiation team to attend the new talks in Geneva.

"Regarding the (Syrian) government, we are counting very much on Russia, on Iran, on anyone who has got major influence, and on the government of Syria to be ready finally to initiate when they are invited to Geneva, a genuine, direct negotiation with whatever (opposition) platform comes out," he said.

The last round of the UN-led peace talks on Syria ended on July 14 without any progresses, when the UN announced that the next round would convene in early September.

Since the war in Syria broke out in March 2011, the crisis has claimed more than 320,000 lives and displaced millions, the UN estimated.

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