Fri Oct 20 2017, 13:51:47 +03

UN mediator suspends intra-Syrian talks for three weeks

Author : , Published :

...

(Geneva-AlummahWorld, Rabi`II 25, 1437, February 4, 2016) Just two days after declaring the official start of delayed intra-Syrian talks in Geneva to end five years of bloody warfare, the United Nations mediator suspended them for three weeks today following differences between Government and opposition delegations on the priority of humanitarian issues.

“I have been asking even before issuing the invitations that there is an immediate implementation of a humanitarian initiative, even before the talks start,” UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told journalists, citing such issues as lifting sieges and providing access for humanitarian aid to all the places which are at the moment unreachable.

The UN cannot allow simple procedural matters to actually become more important than actually the results of humanitarian situation of the Syrian people who have been waiting for us to deliver this time, not a conference, but something concrete for them.

“I was told and reassured that they were going to take place during the talks. Well, I have been hearing from the Government that they had some procedural issues before talking about humanitarian side. I have been hearing from the opposition that they are urgently feeling the need for the Syrian people.”

He stressed that the suspension was only “a temporary pause” and not the end or failure of the talks, noting that both sides insist they are interested in having the political process begin. He set 25 February for the next session.

Mr. de Mistura has made clear from the start that he is under no illusions about the difficulties in ending a war that has killed over 250,000 people, sent over 4 million fleeing the country, displaced 6.5 million internally, and put 13.5 million people inside the country in urgent need of humanitarian aid.

“There will be a lot of posturing, we know that, a lot of walk-outs and walk-ins because a bomb has fallen or because someone has done an attack, and you will see that happening,” he said last week.

Today he was asked how he felt. “I’m not frustrated, I’m not disappointed, I have been long enough with the UN to know that when you have a five-years war and have had so many difficult moments, you have to be determined but also realistic,” he replied.

“When you see things going in a certain direction, you take – we are the convener, we manage the conference, we decide when the conference producing results or not and if they don’t produce results we need to go deeper, that’s what we are doing,” he said, dismissing the idea of holding talks just for the sake of holding talks.

“The UN cannot allow simple procedural matters to actually become more important than actually the results of humanitarian situation of the Syrian people who have been waiting for us to deliver this time, not a conference, but something concrete for them.”