The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria calls on international leaders to resume talks aimed at ending the 10-year Syrian conflict between opposition forces allied with the United States and the Russian-backed Syrian government.
In his remarks to the UN Security Council on Friday, Geir Pedersen said specific measures such as the exchange of prisoners and the negotiation of a nationwide ceasefire are “of vital concern to average Syrians,” according to the Associated Press.
Pedersen added that movement in these areas “will promote internal and regional stability and build confidence.”
The envoy said that while the talks “will not be easy,” he argued that the international community “needs” a “new constructive international dialogue on Syria,” the PA reported.
These remarks precede Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s next meeting in Italy on the crisis in Syria.
Pedersen, who tried unsuccessfully to bring the Syrian government under President Bashar Assad and the opposition to start negotiating a new constitution, said on Friday he plans to join Blinken and other foreign ministers in Rome, after which he will travel to Moscow.
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The PA reported that the envoy was then planning to consult with Turkey and Iran, in the hope that a new international dialogue will not take “too many weeks” to start.
Since the start of the Syrian conflict in March 2011, more than 400,000 people have been killed, including around 13 million people displaced or forced to flee due to the violence, according to UN estimates.
There have been several attempts among international leaders to achieve peace in the conflict, although they have largely failed to create long-term stability.
The conflict also created what the UN has identified as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with Pedersen saying on Friday it was “a deep humanitarian and national tragedy and also a time bomb for regional stability, “the statement said. AP.
The Biden administration on Friday expressed optimism about the possibility of working with Russia to keep open the The Bab al-Hawa crossing, which serves as an essential passage between Turkey and Syria to deliver humanitarian aid to the Syrians.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Asian Near East Affairs Joey Hood told reporters: âWe see an opportunity here to work constructively with Russia on this issue of humanitarian assistance to Syrians across the country.
The remarks came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia could veto a UN Security Council mandate for the renewal of the border post, which is due to expire on July 10.
Russia argued that humanitarian aid should instead be channeled through Damascus, which is controlled by the Syrian government.