MOSCOW – The United Nations special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, said on Thursday that there was no alternative to the negotiations in Geneva, during a meeting in Russia with the country’s foreign and defense ministers.
De Mistura said at the start of the meeting with Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoygu that all sides must work to deliver results from the Geneva process, recognized by the international community and held under the auspices of the UN, stressing that there was no alternative to it.
The diplomat said that an important year for the settlement of the conflict was coming to an end and that the Syrian crisis was witnessing a critical moment.
Speaking to local media, the diplomat said the time had come to move forward with the process, acknowledging that the latest round of negotiations in the Swiss city did not offer results.
At the same time, he acknowledged the dialogue in Astana, a Russian initiative that will see its eighth round held on Thursday, had helped reduce the escalation in Syria.
The UN special envoy recognized the significant results of the dialogue and expressed confidence that the release of prisoners of war would see progress in the Kazakh capital.
De Mistura will attend on Friday the second day of the eighth round of dialogue in Astana, where he will present new ideas to push forward a political transition in Syria.
He said that the meeting on Friday would also address issues such as the cessation of hostilities and the humanitarian situation, and recalled the Russian initiative supported by Iran and Turkey to convene a conference of Syrian national dialogue.
Recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the complete victory over the Islamic State terror organization in Syria, after which he visited for the first time the Russian air base of Hmeimim in the Arab country.