World Bulletin / News Desk
A new round of peace talks to resolve the Syria crisis began Monday in Geneva.
UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura met a Bashar al-Assad regime delegation led by Syria's UN Ambassador Bashar Jaafari during the talks.
Addressing a press conference after meeting with de Mistura, Jaaferi said his delegation had "positive and constructive" talks with the UN envoy.
“It was a useful meeting and I think we clarified quite a lot issues,” De Mistura said.
The delegation will meet with de Mistura again Wednesday. Syrian opposition is expected to meet de Mistura Tuesday.
Earlier Monday, UN envoy said the only “plan B” to the talks is a return to war.
"We should have at least a clear roadmap," he hoped.
The State Department strongly supported the negotiations, saying the U.S. believed it represented an important step toward stopping the violence and suffering of the Syrian people and bringing a Syrian-led political transition in accordance with the 2012 Geneva communique and UN Security Council resolution.
"We urge all sides to support these negotiations so that we aren't back here next year or the year after facing a region with even more refugees, even greater numbers of dead and displaced and even more suffering and erosion of hope," according to a spokesman.
The latest three rounds of talks are expected to last until the end of May.
According to the UN envoy, the new talks will focus on governance, constitution and holding presidential and parliamentary elections in Syria within 18 months.
Last month, Russia and the U.S. agreed to a “cessation of hostilities” deal that paved the way for talks to resume; however, it is only valid for two weeks, according to Syrian opposition.
Since taking effect, the Assad regime, backed by Russia and Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, has been accused of continued attacks in Syria from the air and on the ground.
In June 2012, the Geneva conference on Syria called for the formation of a transitional government, maintaining a cease-fire, release of prisoners and delivering humanitarian aid to besieged areas.
Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011 when the al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests with unexpected ferocity.
Since then, more than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced, according to the UN.
Last Mod: 15 Mart 2016, 09:07