UN envoy warns of Syria talks failure as opposition skips scheduled meeting

The United Nations special envoy for Syria has warned of a total failure of the Syria peace talks as the main opposition coalition announced that it would not attend a planned meeting with the envoy.

Failure “is always possible, particularly after five years of a horrible war, where the sides hate each other, where there is a huge lack of confidence,” said Staffan de Mistura in an interview with the Swiss television RTS on Tuesday.

“If there is a failure this time after we tried twice at conferences in Geneva, for Syria there will be no more hope. We must absolutely try to ensure that there is no failure,” he added.

His comments came as the so-called High Negotiations Committee (HNC) cancelled a scheduled meeting with the UN envoy, saying, “At this moment, there is no reason to repeat ourselves with de Mistura.”

The gathering was to be the opposition delegation’s second meeting with the Swedish-Italian diplomat as part of the UN-brokered Geneva negotiations aimed at finding a political solution to the deadly conflict in Syria.

The foreign-sponsored militancy, which began in March 2011, has claimed the lives of more than 260,000 people and displaced almost half of the country’s population.