Russia regrets UN envoy’s decision to postpone intra-Syrian talks

Russia regrets the decision of United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura’s decision to postpone intra-Syrian talks in Geneva, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

GENEVA (Sputnik) – Staffan de Mistura decided to postpone the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva until February 25 on Wednesday, as many preparatory issues, including humanitarian aid access to besieged areas in Syria, remained unresolved.

“De Mistura announced it [the pause in the talks], it was his decision and how he sees the future course of the talks is his responsibility,” Gatilov said, adding that the envoy was “appointed specifically to mediate the talks and it is up to him to determine the following course of action in that direction.”

Gatilov also said that de Mistura must determine the future course of intra-Syrian talks.

The UN envoy said in a Wednesday statement that negotiations were postponed because of a lack of progress in the discussions dedicated to the resolution of humanitarian issues in Syria.

Last week, the highly-anticipated talks on Syrian reconciliation mediated by the United Nations began in Geneva in line with the December UN Security Council resolution on Syrian settlement that ruled to bring the entire spectrum of political groups in the crisis-torn country to the negotiating table.

“Of course, we regret the fact that UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura was forced to make a decision on the suspension of negotiations as a result of the position taken at today’s meeting by the [opposition] delegation from Riyadh.”

Pause in Intra-Syria Talks to Affect Int’l Syria Support Group Negotiations

The pause in intra-Syrian peace talks will affect discussions within the framework of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) planned for February 11, Gennady Gatilov said.

“I think that what happened today will naturally affect the discussion that will take place on February 11 in Munich within the framework of the International Syria Support Group,” Gatilov said, adding that he hoped that ISSG participants “will speak in favor of the continuation of the negotiation process and nobody will put up any obstacles.”

The International Syria Support Group (ISSG), an international format aiming to resolve the Syrian crisis, was formed in November shortly after the beginning of the Syria peace talks in Vienna.

The format currently involves Russia, the Arab League countries, the European Union and some of its member states, China, Iran, Turkey, the United Nations and the United States.

According to the Russian deputy foreign minister, Russia and the United States maintain regular contact, including between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry, on the Syrian issue.

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on December 18 on settling the Syrian conflict. It reaffirmed the goals of the previous Vienna deals to bring the entire spectrum of political groups in the crisis-torn country to the negotiating table.

By Sputnik