"Productive" Syria talks, but "no excuse" for delaying aid: UN envoy

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Staffan de Mistura, Special Envoy for Syria, called for more humanitarian aid including medical supplies to be delivered to desperate communities. Photo: UN Photo/Anne-Laure Lechat

A "productive" fourth day of Syria peace talks has ended in Geneva but there is "no excuse" for ongoing problems encountered by aid convoys, UN negotiator Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.

Speaking after meeting with the main opposition group the High Negotiations Committee, Mr de Mistura noted that the cessation of hostilities is still largely holding.

This was the time, he said, to accelerate deliveries of humanitarian supplies.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

Staffan de Mistura described his latest meeting with the main Syrian opposition as "productive".

During that encounter, he said that the HNC delegation had presented him with "very detailed" proposals for political transition in the devastated country.

The UN Special Envoy also confirmed that despite some violations of the cessation of hostilities in Syria, the last three days had been "surprisingly calm".

It was therefore wrong that humanitarian aid convoys – including life-saving medical supplies – were still not getting through, de Mistura insisted:

"There is no excuse, no excuse for not progressing with humanitarian aid now that the ceasefire cessation of hostilities is moving still forward and has been taking place for a while."

Speaking after their meeting with de Mistura, the main opposition HNC delegation warned that there was the "same old stalemate" on humanitarian access inside the country.

On the issue of the release of detainees held by the Syrian government, de Mistura said that he had raised the issue with them during talks in Geneva, and would continue to do so.

But he also stated that opposition forces were responsible for abducting individuals, albeit on a smaller scale.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1'15"

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