De Mistura Says Small Gains in Latest Geneva Talks

Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a new round of negotiation with Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee leader Nasr al Hariri during the Intra Syria talks at Palais des Nations in Geneva Swi

Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a new round of negotiation with Syria's main opposition High Negotiations Committee leader Nasr al Hariri during the Intra Syria talks at Palais des Nations in Geneva Swi

"We have made, as we were expecting and hoping, incremental progress.

We hope more from Russians", Khalidi said on the sidelines of the seventh round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, which concluded on Friday.

Answering a question by SANA's delegate on exerting pressure on the countries which are involved in supporting terrorism in Syria to stop funding it, de Mistura said "We are in touch with every single country related to Syria at the moment and we are constantly in touch with them and they are aware of those important resolutions of the Security Council on financing, arming and supporting terrorism". He went on to "clarify some thoughts" about terrorism, mostly reiterating longstanding United Nations positions that he believes have increasingly appeared dormant.

De Mistura said that by the next round of talks he hopes the worldwide community will be able to push all sides to "finally sit in the same room and start talking about substance".

The four baskets are anti-terrorism, governance, constitution and elections. It has been a bedrock text upon which de Mistura's efforts have been based.

The UN envoy said he has seen no sign that Assad's representatives would ever discuss political transition.

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The envoy also said "I warmly welcome" a call by French President Emmanuel Macron for the creation of a "contact group" that would support a political road map for Syria after its six-year war ends one day.

The opposition groups have drawn closer together, built new levels of "trust" and have scheduled to meet again later this month, de Mistura said. The plan would enlist the five permanent Security Council members - the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France - and regional players.

The next round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva will take place in early September, de Mistura told reporters.

The glacial pace of the Geneva talks, which some observers see as simply a way of keeping an avenue for peace talks open in case of an unexpected breakthrough, owes much to the fact that de Mistura has to meet each delegation separately.

"The most important thing is for us to have a national partner and not a client for a foreign agenda", he said alluding to foreign backers of the main opposition, like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, as well as smaller opposition factions.

After hosting the seventh round of Syrian peace talks, the United Nations envoy for Syria say he has seen no sign that the government of President Bashar Assad has given any ground on possible political transition.

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