Parties to peace talks in Syria bear "historic responsibility": UN envoy

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Staffan de Mistura speaks to journalists at the Security Council stakeout after the private consultations on Syria. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Everyone with a stake in the Syrian peace process bears a "historic responsibility" to find a way forward.

That's the view of the UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, speaking at UN Headquarters after briefing the Security Council.

He said that pressure was needed on all parties, to resume proximity talks by August, a deadline for progress on "political transition" set by the council.

Matthew Wells reports.

Mr de Mistura who has been overseeing the stalled UN-led talks in Geneva, told reporters that there needed to be "sufficient critical mass" before the parties could be brought back to the negotiating table.

The envoy said that with key players such as the UN Secretary-General and President Barack Obama reaching the end of their tenures, it was right to put pressure on the warring parties to negotiate in good faith.

"Bottom line, we are aiming within July, but not at any cost, and not without some guarantees, and aiming at August as the period where we should be seeing something concrete. The main parties who can make this happen, need to feel that they have a historic responsibility."

He said quiet diplomacy was continuing on a daily basis, and he was convinced that the timetable was realistic.

In terms of humanitarian aid, he said that as of Wednesday, the UN had been able to access all 18 main besieged locations in Syria, describing it as a "landmark" moment.

But still, he added, "not enough" access to communities in desperate need through the war-ravaged country had been granted by Syrian authorities.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’08″


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