Global Independent Analytics

UN envoy urges Obama, Putin to step in Syrian peace talks

Staffan de Mistura told that the cessation of hostilities agreed upon by the Western- and Saudi-backed opposition and Assad’s government – backed by Moscow –“hangs by a thread”

FoxNews reports: The U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura called upon President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday to help revive stalled peace talks, saying a recent spike in fighting has overshadowed the talks and put an increasingly fragile truce in “great danger.” He called for a "U.S.-Russian initiative at the highest level" to help reinforce it.

"There is no reason that both of them — who have been putting so much political capital in that success story and have a common interest in not seeing Syria ending up in another cycle of war — should not be able to revitalize what they created, and which is still alive, but barely," he said of the two countries.

"I really fear that the erosion of the cessation is unraveling the fragile consensus around a political solution, carefully built over the last year," de Mistura said in his U.N. Security Council briefing. “Now I see parties reverting to the langue of a military solution or military option. We must ensure they do not see that as a solution or an option.” De Mistura added that the leaders’ legacies were “linked to the success of what has been a unique initiative which started very well.”

The U.N. envoy called not only for the U.S.-Russia unity but also for international support to the effort to end the five-year Syria conflict. He also urged the Security Council to convoke another ministerial meeting of the International Syria Support Group, which comprises 17 countries as well as the United Nations, Arab League, European Union and Organization of Islamic Cooperation. He added that the peace talks are anticipated to resume in May but stopped short of setting a specific date, point to the recent surge in fighting, notably in and around Aleppo.

The author of the article continues: “the opposition group – High Negotiations Committee – pulled out of formal talks a week ago in protest of the intensified fighting and the slow response for aid deliveries. Bashar Ja’afari, who led the government delegation, said Tuesday the latest round of talks were “useful and constructive,” but gave no sign of giving into the opposition’s demands of forming a new government without President Assad.

Lamenting the worsening violence, he said that "in the last 48 hours, we have had an average of one Syrian killed every 25 minutes, one Syrian wounded every 13 minutes ... How can you have substantial talks when you have only news about bombing and shelling?"

De Mistura expressed his hopes that, despite the fact that the peace negotiations strumbled last week after no significant progress was reached, back-channel work between Moscow and Washington might revive the truce and bring the two sides back to the table.

"I know that both the Russian Federation and the U.S. are talking among themselves on how to salvage on what has been actually a remarkable success — but needs to be sustained," he said, referring to the cease-fire. If it is revived, he predicted: "It will not be difficult for everyone to come back around the table."

 

By Stefan Paraber for GIA.

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