United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Syria’s government and opposition groups are invited to resume peace talks in Geneva on March 23, the UN envoy said Wednesday, as the United States pledged support for the negotiations.
Staffan de Mistura announced the date after reporting to the Security Council on the results of the last round of talks on ending Syria’s six-year war.
The new round will focus on governance, constitutional process, elections and counter-terrorism and there may also be discussions on reconstruction, said De Mistura.
The European Union and the United Nations will host a conference in Brussels on April 5 on Syrian reconstruction but the assistance will only start flowing once a political transition is in place.
“We’ve got to make sure that we get Iran and their proxies out,” she added.
Russia and Iran are backing President Bashar al-Assad militarily in the war against a myriad of opposition fighters backed by Turkey, the United States and Gulf countries.
Previous rounds of peace talks have hit a wall over the future role of Assad, accused by the West of stoking the violence that has left 310,000 dead since March 2011.
The UN envoy sounded cautiously optimistic, saying that while there were no “miracles” during the last round, “we achieved much more than many people had imagined we could have.”
“No one left. Everybody stayed. They were focused. We got an agenda. We got a timeline and we got some agreement, even on substance,” he said.