Switzerland has thanked Staffan de Mistura, the UN special envoy to Syria who announced on Wednesday that he is stepping down.
It expressed thanks for his “tireless commitment” to a political solution for the Syrian conflict and called on the parties to “return to the negotiating table”. It also expressed support for the idea a constitutional committee for Syria.
“In this extremely complex context, Staffan de Mistura has always represented hope and shown great diplomatic finesse,” Swiss UN ambassador in Geneva Valentin Zellweger told the Keystone-SDA news agency. “Switzerland reiterates its support to the United Nations in its search for peace.”
De Mistura, who has been UN special envoy to Syria for more than four years, announced on Wednesday that he would step down at the end of November. The 71-year-old Italian-Swedish diplomat said this was for personal reasons. He said he would use the remaining time to try to make progress on a constitutional committee for Syria which would be tasked with drafting a new constitution.
The Syrian conflict which started in 2011 has left hundreds of thousands dead, while many more have been displaced or fled the country.