Envoy announces "temporary pause" in Syrian talks

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Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura updates the press on the Intra-Syrian Geneva Talks. UN File Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

UN-brokered talks involving the warring parties in Syria have been temporarily suspended.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, made the announcement in Geneva on Wednesday, saying they were not delivering any humanitarian benefits for the Syrian people.

The talks officially got underway on Monday.

The UN estimates that more than 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian crisis which enters its sixth year in March.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr de Mistura told reporters that he had made the decision to bring the talks to what he described as "a temporary pause."

Representatives from the Syrian government and various opposition groups have been in Geneva all week, in order to hold so-called "proximity talks", meeting separately with the UN envoy.

Mr de Mistura said that the suspension did not amount to a failure of the talks, and added that they would resume on February 25.

He indicated that with no ceasefire, no end to aerial bombardment or crippling sieges in sight, he would not continue with talks "for the sake of talks."

"The Syrian people will see and expect me and they expect all of us to produce something while we are talking. Since I am not seeing that, I have to be honest and say with myself, it is time now to have a pause only a pause and give time for this to happen."

Meanwhile, more than 70 world leaders will meet in London on Thursday aiming to raise US$9 billion to support Syrian refugees.

Mr de Mistura said he hoped the donor conference would serve as an incentive for the successful reconvening of the peace talks, which are scheduled to last for at least six months.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'05"

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