Syria peace talks suspended until Feb 25
The UN special envoy for Syria announced on Wednesday a “temporary pause” until February 25 of troubled talks in Switzerland aimed at ending the country’s civil war.
“I have concluded frankly that after the first week of preparatory talks there is more work to be done, not only by us but the stakeholders,” Staffan de Mistura told reporters in Geneva.
“I have indicated from the first day I won’t talk for the sake of talking. I therefore have taken the decision to bring a temporary pause. It is not the end or the failure of the talks,” he said.
“Both sides indicated they are interested in having the political process started. I have already fixed a date for the next talks of 25th February.”
His comments came after several days of fruitless talks aimed at starting indirect negotiations between the Syrian government and opposition.
The hoped-for six months of indirect “proximity talks” are part of an ambitious roadmap agreed by outside powers embroiled in the conflict in November in Vienna.
The opposition umbrella group High Negotiations Committee (HNC) only reluctantly arrived in Geneva on Saturday, a day after representatives from President Bashar al-Assad.
The HNC was insisting on immediate steps including humanitarian aid getting through to besieged cities, a halt to the bombardment of civilians and the release of prisoners.