UN envoy hopes key new meetings will spur Syria peace talks

AP News
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Posted: Jun 27, 2017 12:13 PM

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria is expressing hope that a first-ever U.N. meeting of feuding opposition groups and an upcoming meeting to put "de-escalation zones" into operation will spur progress at next month's peace talks in Geneva.

Staffan de Mistura told the Security Council on Tuesday that "we are at a time of testing whether the political will exists for real de-escalation and more meaningful political talks and movement beyond preparatory talks."

He said a potentially "significant new development" took place on June 15-16 when for the first time "internal opposition" groups, backed by Moscow and Cairo and tolerated by the Syrian government, met under U.N. auspices in Geneva with the Western-backed opposition delegation participating in the Geneva talks.

Those U.N.-brokered talks are scheduled to resume on July 10.