UN Envoy Says Syria Attacks Aimed to Spoil Talks

NEW YORK — The UN special envoy for Syria, early Thursday condemned the latest “terrorist attacks” in Damascus on the sixth anniversary of the Syrian conflict, saying they are “plainly designed to spoil attempts to sustain political talks”.

Staffan de Mistura said in a statement the attacks claimed the lives of innocent civilians and again urged respect for the ceasefire in Syria, which “is being challenged by violations on the ground”.

“Peace in Syria is a moral and political imperative both for the Syrian people and for the world – an imperative that cannot wait,” he told reporters.

The statement was issued in Geneva after Syrian state media reported two suicide bomb attacks killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens more in the capital.

The United Nations Secretary-General Antanio Guterres, also urged in a statement the conflict parties to fully back a fragile ceasefire and ensure aid access, as well as to support UN-facilitated talks set to pick up again late this month.

“For six years now, the Syrian people have been victims of one of the worst conflicts of our time,” Guterres said on the crisis in Syria, which began in March 2011 after a crackdown on massive popular protests throughout the country turned into an armed struggle that has displaced millions.

The UN chief issued two urgent appeals to all the parties, the first one is to make the most of the 30 December 2016 ceasefire established by the guarantors of the Astana meetings, Russia, Turkey and Iran as well as to ensure that relief aid can reach all those in need in Syria without any obstacles and impediments.

Secondly, the UN chief appealed to all those with influence on the conflict parties to overcome their differences and work together to put an end to the conflict, namely by contributing to the success of the intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva on the basis of the Geneva Communiqué and relevant UN Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2254 (2015), which endorsed a road map for a peace process in Syria, including specific language on governance, constitution and elections.

The UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura announced last week that he expects to convene intra-Syrian negotiations on 23 March.


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