De Mistura at conclusion of Geneva 5: We discussed four baskets in depth

Geneva, SANA – UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said that the fifth round of intra-Syrian dialogue in Geneva saw the discussion of issues in parallel and in-depth discussion of the four baskets that make up the agenda of the dialogue.

In a press conference on Friday marking the conclusion of this round of dialogue, de Mistura said that the discussions were serious and interactive, with all sides participating in detail in the discussions, adding that talks focused more on essence rather than form or procedures.

He said that there should be no expectations of the talks collapsing or of making a breakthrough, as what matters now is that progress is being made on the agenda, adding that what is important is preparing for the issues that need preparation before beginning actual peace talks, stressing that progress was made in this regard.

De Mistura said that all sides received a “non-paper” which contains basic principles and issues like sovereignty and territorial unity and integrity to motivate dialogue in addition to verbal contributions, and they in turn submitted verbal and written contributions.

He said that at the end of the day, he received indicators from all sides that they are willing to return to Geneva for a new round of dialogue, and regarding the date of the next round, he said he will be consulting with the Security Council and the UN Secretary-General to determine the date.

The Special Envoy said that the success of the Astana meetings strengthens the Geneva track and vice versa, and that his work as mediator would be made easier if the opposition platforms would be represented by a single delegation.

He said that any peace talks require much patience and determination, so having several rounds of dialogue isn’t unusual; rather it’s normal and important.

On the possibility of the end of his mission as UN Special Envoy for Syria, de Mistura said that he heard such rumors, but this can only be taken seriously when he or the UN Secretary-General make a statement in this regard.

Hazem Sabbagh

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