NEW YORK, JANUARY 31 – UN intra-Syrian talks have been postponed to 20 February to give the opposition a chance to come as a united group. The UN must be at center of political process, Staffan de Mistura, the UN Special Envoy for Syria, told journalists on Tuesday after briefing behind closed doors the Security Council on the Syrian crisis.
“Syria talks should be held under the UN umbrella because it’s the best way to include everyone”, de Mistura said after receiving the UN Security Council support.
The Italian-Swedish diplomat said that the invitations to the parties attending the meetings in Geneva will be sent on February 8 (the original day for the talks) but the “slight delay” has been decided to allow the opposition groups to present an unified front. “If this will non be possible, I will select a representation of the various groups, women included”, de Mistura said referring to the powers given to him by the UN Security Council resolution 2254.
De Mistura expressed satisfaction for the outcome of the Astana talks adding that “this ceasefire has more chances than any other: 13 armed groups were present in Astana and there was a common will to set up a monitoring mechanism”. Appreciation for the outcome of the Astana talks was expressed by the Italian delegation in the Council. “A stronger ceasefire and an improvement of the humanitarian access will be conducive to a better climate for the renewal of the negotiations”, the Italian permanent Representative Sebastiano Cardi said during the meeting, in which he stressed the importance of a UN umbrella for all negotiations on Syria. (@OnuItalia)