UN Syria envoy says he hopes for new peace talks in August

AP News
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Posted: Jul 22, 2016 11:05 AM

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. special envoy to Syria said on Friday that he hopes to be able to hold new talks on Syria's conflict in Geneva in August as concerns mount over humanitarian access to the bitterly contested city of Aleppo.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Staffan de Mistura said he and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "are determined to actually look for a proper date in August" for new intra-Syria talks.

Russia and the United States have recently concluded bilateral talks on Syria, and de Mistura said it is important first to see how steps agreed upon there play out.

"We are eagerly waiting to see those steps become concrete and visible," he said, adding that "the next three weeks ... are going to be extremely important."

De Mistura also said that he had just been in Ankara, and despite the recent coup attempt, the Turkish authorities remain "very serious about focusing on the issue of Syria and are fully aware that there is a need of addressing a political solution there."

Ahead of de Mistura's comments, his spokeswoman in Geneva said there were already plans to hold a meeting of "fairly high-level" diplomats from the U.S., U.N. and Russia next week to discuss the Syria conflict.