Syria talks postponed, says UN envoy

Syria's civil war has been ongoing for eleven years, with no end in sight. Keystone / Str

Talks scheduled in Geneva this month on a new constitution for Syria have been cancelled, UN mediator Geir Pedersen announced on Saturday.

This content was published on July 16, 2022 - 16:18

He did not give a reason for the cancellation. Russia, which supports the Syrian government, had called in June for the talks to be postponed. The Syrian government representative in Moscow said host country Switzerland had lost its neutrality, referring to Swiss sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine.

"The Special Envoy stresses the importance of all the stakeholders in this conflict protecting and firewalling the Syrian political process from their differences elsewhere in the world and encourages them to engage in constructive diplomacy on Syria," Pedersen said in a statement. 

He added that he would "continue to consult with all relevant parties and provide more information in due course".

The ninth round of negotiations with representatives of the Syrian government, opposition and civil society was scheduled for 25-29 July. The committee is tasked with drafting a new constitution for Syria to pave the way for UN-supervised elections and an end to the 11-year-old civil war.

The previous eight rounds of talks have yielded little result since 2019. Since Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regained the upper hand in the civil war with military help from Russia, the government delegation has shown little willingness to compromise, according to participants in the talks quoted by news agency Keystone-SDA.

The civil war in Syria broke out in 2011 after the violent suppression of demonstrations calling for regime change. It quickly developed into a complex conflict involving many actors, including jihadist groups and foreign powers. The war has left an estimated half a million people dead and millions displaced.

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