Syria: UN envoy aims for peace talks to resume in late Aug

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UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations envoy mediating a resolution to the five-year crisis in Syria said Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) he aims to convene a new round of intra-Syrian peace talks toward the end of August, and expressed hope that the United States and Russia would make “concrete progress” in order to improve the atmosphere for the resumption of the discussions. “Today, as you know, we had a meeting in Geneva at the UN premises here with both American and Russian senior officials. The subject was related to the urgent need of progress on the cessation of hostilities, on the humanitarian access, on counter-terrorism and, indeed, political transition,” Staffan de Mistura, UN Special Envoy for Syria, told reporters in Geneva. De Mistura said the meeting coincided with the gathering that took place in Laos between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, during which they discussed ways to build on the understanding that had been reached in Moscow last week.

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