UN says cannot confirm Syria talks postponement


GENEVA: The United Nations cannot confirm a Russian statement that talks on the Syrian conflict planned for February 8 in Geneva have been postponed, a spokeswoman for UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday.

“There is no confirmation that the February talks are postponed,” said Yara Sharif.

“We’re going to be sure when the special envoy is back” from talks on the issue in New York next week with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

UN spokeswoman Alessandra Vellucci also said Friday that the list of those invited to the Geneva talks has not been finalized.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier Friday that the Geneva talks would be postponed until the end of February.

“The date of February 8 has been put back until the end of next month,” Lavrov told a meeting with minor Syrian opposition representatives in Moscow to discuss the peace talks in Kazakhstan.

The talks in the Kazakh capital Astana wrapped up on Tuesday without any tangible progress in finding a political solution to the war in Syria, which has claimed more than 310,000 lives since it started in 2011.

Key players Russia, Turkey and Iran backed the talks and the main result was an agreement by the three sides to try to shore up a shaky ceasefire on the ground in the war-torn country.

The main opposition groups stayed away from the Moscow meeting with Lavrov, as the Kremlin seeks to impose its influence as the key powerbroker in Syria on the back of its game-changing military support for leader Bashar al-Assad. AFP




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