The U.N.'s chief mediator for the intra-Syrian talks says he does not see any imminent breakthrough on the horizon.
On the eve of a new round of Syrian peace talks, Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, downplayed expectations, but said that there was a “political momentum” to move ahead on efforts to end the long-standing civil war.
Syria's warring parties last met in Geneva nearly nine months ago. That round of talks broke down because of repeated violations of a cease-fire agreement.
De Mistura acknowledged that the successful resumption of the failed negotiations hinged largely on the warring parties abiding by the current cease-fire.
He said Russia, which had worked out the agreement with Turkey in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, was using its influence to see that the fragile cease-fire held.
The U.N. envoy warned that there were, what he called “spoilers,” who would try to provoke one side or the other to walk out of the talks or to refuse to talk.
Syria's nearly six-year-long civil war has killed around 400,000 people, displaced more than 6 million inside Syria, half of them children and prompted nearly 5 million to flee as refugees into neighboring countries. An estimated 13.5 million people need humanitarian assistance.