Syria envoy supportive of US-Russia talks as aid stalls

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Staffan de Mistura told journalists in Geneva that he was not prepared to give up on the Syrian people amid an escalation in fighting. Photo: UN Photo/Daniel Johnson

A ceasefire deal on Syria between Russia and the United States is crucial if there's to be an end to increasingly intense fighting that has severely disrupted aid deliveries in the war-torn country, UN negotiator Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria confirmed that talks between the two countries were ongoing in Geneva, but that they had been going on "far too long".

Meanwhile, humanitarian aid reached just three of the 18 so-called besieged areas in Syria last month.

Daniel Johnson has more.

With 13 million people in Syria in need of humanitarian support and aid convoys blocked from reaching them, the need for a pause in fighting has never been greater.

That was the message from UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura, speaking in Geneva on Thursday.

However, getting the US and Russia to agree on a 48-hour truce was taking "far too long", Mr de Mistura said, adding that their discussions are still continuing at what he called "a very high level".

And in reference to the recent fall of Darayya to government forces – a town besieged since 2012 – the UN negotiator said that an end to the conflict could only be achieved if the warring parties returned to Geneva for peace talks.

"Whatever is the militarisation of the conflict, and whatever are this Darayya or the next Darayyas, god forbid, we will not have a solution to this conflict unless there is a genuine political process."

Within Syria, humanitarian needs continue to grow, and last month, less than one-third of the besieged population received help.

This is because aid convoys are "routinely blocked", humanitarian task force coordinator Jan Egeland told journalists, before adding that he had told the international members of that group that their influence "had diminished" in recent weeks.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 1’21″



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