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UN Syria envoy looks for talks to resume in July

UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said a “critical mass” of agreement between Russia and the United States was still needed before holding a new round of intra-Syrian talks on a political transition.
Men search for survivors at a site hit by what activists said was heavy shelling by forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in the Douma neighborhood of Damascus June 16, 2015. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh - RTX1GSXQ

WASHINGTON — A date for the resumption of Syria peace talks may be clarified after a UN Security Council meeting on June 29, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said June 23 as he headed to Washington and New York for consultations after meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia last week. The international consultations on resuming Syria political talks come as UN humanitarian officials gave a mixed picture of the situation on the ground, with aid having reached 16 of 18 besieged areas since February but a continued degradation in a partial cease-fire continuing to impede humanitarian access.

With an Aug. 20 target date for unveiling some form of Syria transitional government, de Mistura aimed for the next round of intra-Syrian talks between the regime and opposition delegations to be held in July in Geneva. Meanwhile, his team was preparing to hold “technical talks” with the Syrian opposition High Negotiating Committee in Riyadh this week, after similar rounds of under-the-radar discussions with other opposition groupings in Moscow and Cairo, he said.

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