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Staffan de Mistura Syria and mediator trade blame as peace talks fail

War rages on in Syria as humanitarian situation worsens

(Keystone)

The Syrian government’s head of delegation to peace talks in Geneva said on Thursday that UN mediator Staffan de Mistura had “lost credibility” after he appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene with Damascus.

Speaking on Swiss public television RTS on Thursday evening, de Mistura said Putin should convince the Bashar Al-Assad government to accept a new constitution and new elections to “win the peace”.

Responding in New York, a spokesman for the UN Secretary General reiterated full support for de Mistura.

This came as the latest round of peace talks ended in Geneva without results.

Read more about the Syria peace talks in Geneva

De Mistura called this round of talks a “big missed opportunity” but said there may be more talks next month if President Bashar al-Assad's government could be encouraged to engage.

He laid most of the blame for the failure of the round at the feet of the government, although he also expressed disappointment with the Syrian opposition after they arrived in Geneva ruling out any future role for Assad.

This is the eighth round of Syria peace talks organized by de Mistura in Geneva since 2016. The latest talks focused on a new constitution and the organisation of UN-supervised elections, but the government and opposition delegations did not meet face-to-face. 

swissinfo.ch/agencies/jmc

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