UN finalising preparations for upcoming Syria peace talks | Xinhuanet

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-02/18/c_136065316.htm

GENEVA, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) — The UN Office of the Special Envoy for Syria said Friday that the final planning is underway to prepare the ground ahead of intra-Syria talks which was expected to kick off on Feb.23.

“The special envoy is putting the finishing touches on the participation of the Syrian parties in the initial round of intra-Syrian negotiations,” the special envoy’s spokesperson Yara Sharif told reporters.

“As you know, he issued invitations earlier this week. We can confirm that those invitations have been positively responded to. We can also confirm that consultations are continuing,” she added.

Participants are expected to convene with the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in Geneva’s UN headquarters on Feb.23, 10 months after the last round of negotiations were put on hold amid a humanitarian meltdown and ongoing violence.

Sharif confirmed that delegations are expected to arrive in the Swiss city as early as the beginning of next week.

UN-mediated talks are seeking to broker a political end to a conflict which has killed as many as 400,000 people and displaced millions of others since it started in March 2011.

According to Sharif, upcoming negotiations “will be entirely guided by the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which talks specifically about governance, a new constitution and elections in Syria.”

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