Paris – UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura announced on Friday the conclusion of the fourth round of the UN-mediated intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.
The international envoy said that participants have agreed to discuss in parallel, all four “package” deal proposals for crisis resolution — governance, constitution, elections and counterterrorism.
The envoy said that the exact date for the launching of the 5th round of talks in the Swiss city would be announced following his visit to New York in the coming few days and his meeting with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
He noted however that the talks would be held later this month.
Counter-terrorism – an issue pushed by the Syrian pro-regime delegation – had been added to the agenda, the UN envoy said.
“What I saw … gives me some feeling that we are moving in the right direction,” he told reporters at the end of eight days of talks.
He said counter-terrorism had been added as a “fourth package” to the talks, alongside efforts to establish a “credible, inclusive government”, drafting a new constitution and holding free and fair elections.
In a news conference on Friday, de Mistura said: “I believe…and expect that the sides should now pursue a framework agreement containing an agreed political package so that a negotiated transitional political process can be implemented as indicated by (UN) Resolution 2254.”
He added that the UN recognized only two terrorist groups: ISIS and the former Nusra Front, once an al-Qaeda affiliate. Neither is part of the UN peace process.
The international envoy stressed the need to maintain indirect negotiations, awaiting the appropriate conditions for both sides to engage into direct talks.
He also expressed his readiness to form working groups or committees to discuss the four baskets and fill the time vacuum until the launching of the fifth round of peace talks.