The United Nations special envoy for Syria said Wednesday he intends to bring the government and foreign-backed armed opposition back to Geneva for a fifth round of talks on March 23 to pursue agreement on a transition to end the six-year war.
Staffan de Mistura told reporters after briefing the Security Council behind closed doors that the UN will be promoting substantive talks on four issues — governance, a new constitution, elections and counter-terrorism, “including the security organization and confidence-building measures.”
He appealed to participants at a meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, that will take place ahead of the next Geneva talks to address the challenges of the cease-fire in Syria. Those talks are organized by the three guarantors of the cease-fire — Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Russia’s military on Tuesday announced a cease-fire until March 20 between insurgents and Syria’s government in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of the Syrian capital of Damascus.