Russia, US, UN talks on Syria to be held in Geneva on Dec. 11

Russia, United States, United Nations will hold Syria talks in Geneva on December 11, UN Syria envoy says

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UN Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura addresses the media in Vienna, Austria on November 14, 2015 (Reuters)

The United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday that trilateral talks between representatives of Russia, the United States and the United Nations on Syria crisis will be held in Geneva on Friday.

"We will have consultations in a trilateral format: Russia, the United States, the United Nations," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said adding that he would participate in the meeting.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and also Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who will meet in Moscow next week, will not attend the Geneva meeting.

"We will present our vision of the situation (in Syria), with emphasis on the need to intensify the fight against terrorism. It is a priority for us. We call for an increase in joint efforts in this area," Gatilov said.

The talks will be held "first of all to hear out [Syria envoy Staffan] de Mistura on the UN's work, the promotion of intra-Syrian dialogue," Gatilov said.

"We hope he will voice his opinion on these issues, including on the format of further negotiations," he added.

Russia is expected to mention the need to intensify the fight against terrorism during the meeting.

Russia, the main ally of the Syrian regime, launched a campaign of air strikes in support of Bashar al Assad’s forces on September 30.

Besides Russia, the US, the UK and France have also been conducting air strikes targeting the DAESH terrorist group, which took advantage of the power vacuum in Syria arising from the civil war to seize control of swathes of territory.

However, the death toll of civilians in such air strikes is also proving to be a cause for concern, with hundreds having lost their lives in the parallel operations being carried out by Russia and the US-led coalition.

The four-year-long war in Syria has so far claimed the lives of at least 350,000 people, while displacing half of the country's pre-war population of 22 million internally and in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. At least 350,000 refugees have also sought asylum in European countries.

TRTWorld and agencies