UN envoy to Syria sees no breakthrough in talks

Although Thursday's talks in Geneva are unlikely to result in an agreement, UN envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura is positive that the talks will be worthwhile.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

UN mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a news conference after a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, January 12, 2017.

Updated Feb 23, 2017

UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday that he expects no breakthrough at Syria peace talks starting on Thursday. But the top diplomat said he believes the talks will mark the beginning of a series of rounds of negotiations that aim to reach a political agreement.

"We are not having any excessive expectations, let's be frank," de Mistura told a news conference.

He added that the hoped to maintain momentum and that neither side would try to disrupt the talks by provoking the other. "I think it will be worthwhile. We are going to give it a serious try."

While the Geneva talks will focus on politics, de Mistura said he expected more rounds of talks in the Kazakh capital Astana. The Astana talks are being convened by Russia, Turkey and Iran, to deal with the ceasefire and related humanitarian issues, including prisoners.

He declined to discuss the format of the Geneva talks, which he said would start with bilateral meetings on Thursday, but did not say what his objectives were for this round.

TRT World’s Sarah Morice has been following events in Geneva.

TRTWorld, Reuters