United Nations, AP—The UN special envoy to Syria will begin consulting with key players to try to relaunch political negotiations aimed at ending the country’s civil war now in its fifth year, the United Nations said Tuesday.
In late March, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ordered Staffan de Mistura to flesh out elements of the roadmap for a Syrian political transition adopted at a meeting in Geneva on June 30, 2012.
The roadmap agreed to in Geneva starts with the establishment of a transitional governing body but there has been no agreement on how to implement it. The plan would require Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad to relinquish power at some unspecified point.
“There’s a lot of disagreement but I think there is agreement that the military solution will not solve the current Syrian crisis,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “For the good of the Syrian people and the region, we need to find a political agreement, so we’re kick-starting the political agreement.”
He said starting next month de Mistura would have a rolling series of discussions with various parties “to try to harvest ideas and harvest some common ground to see how we can move forward.”
De Mistura’s predecessor Lakhdar Brahimi, who was the joint UN-Arab League mediator, led two rounds of peace talks with most of Syria’s key players that ended without a breakthrough in February 2014.
Since then, Russia, which staunchly backs the Assad government, has held another two rounds of peace talks. They were boycotted by the leading Syrian opposition group but attended by a representative from de Mistura’s office.
Dujarric said the list of invitees to the one-on-one discussions has not yet been decided.
Iran, a strong supporter of the Assad government, was not invited to the Geneva negotiations.
Asked whether Iran would be involved in the new consultations, Dujarric replied: “I think it is important that all those who have an influence on the current conflict be included in discussions.”