Time's not right for Syria talks to resume in Geneva

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UN Syria Envoy Staffan de Mistura said that permission to access 19 besieged areas has been given but that airlifts of aid had not been ruled out. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

The time is not yet right for talks to resume on the future of Syria, despite signs of progress on aid access in the war-torn country, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.

Citing insufficient progress on the key issue of political transition, the UN negotiator said that he wanted the talks to happen soon, but they had to produce "concrete" results.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

Speaking in Geneva, Staffan de Mistura said he told the UN Security Council that there was little point in re-starting peace talks as long as the key issue of political transition remains unresolved.

"We want to give maximum chances for a concrete outcome. And what is concrete outcome? A beginning, concrete, not in words, of political transition. … but in opinion, based on that assessment, this is not yet the moment."

In the absence of talks in Geneva, the UN negotiator indicated that technical discussions will continue with anyone who could contribute to peace in Syria.

And he said that the first of August deadline for political transition requested by the UN Security Council remained "attainable".

On the issue of humanitarian access, Staffan de Mistura said that more than 270,000 people in besieged areas have received supplies since the start of the year.

And he welcomed the fact that permission has been granted to deliver aid to 19 besieged locations across Syria this month.

But it remains to be seen if the aid convoys get through, or if they are stopped at the last moment, with medicines taken off the lorries, he said.

The Special Envoy also condemned violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement in the war-torn country, including heavy shelling in Daraya and bombardments of hospitals in Aleppo.

Duration: 1'20"

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