Fighting terrorist groups in Syria on top of UN agenda: De Mistura

Press TV – UN special envoy for Syria Staffan De Mistura has underlined the importance of the fight against UN-designated terror groups as a priority in resolving the ongoing crisis in the conflict-ridden country.

De Mistura made the remarks at a press conference at the end of the seventh round of the Syria peace talks in Geneva on Friday.

“The fight against those terrorists identified by the Security Council on the Syrian issue is very clear. There has been a clear Security Council resolution on that and it is a priority,” he said.

He underlined the need for the full implementation of Security Council resolutions, particularly those concerning arming and financing terrorist groups.

The UN envoy stressed that the fight against terrorists “must be accompanied by concrete efforts to protect civilians,” noting that none of the parties can use “any type of prohibited weapons” during the conflict.

De Mistura called for continued civilian access to humanitarian assistance under any circumstances, adding that the civilian population “should not be punished twice” under any blockade.

He further reiterated that Syria’s conflict could only be resolved through an inclusive political process in an attempt to avoid the emergence of other terrorist entities in power if any power vacuum occurs in the future.

“The best guarantee against terrorism in Syria is an agreed political solution through an inclusive UN-led transitional political process,” De Mistura pointed out.

The UN special envoy for Syria attends a new round of negotiations with Syria’s main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) in Geneva on July 14, 2017.

Representatives from the Syrian government and opposition kicked off their seventh round of peace talks at the UN headquarters in Geneva on Monday. The negotiations wrapped up on Friday and the next round of the talks is scheduled to be held in September.

The talks in Geneva have been held under the auspices of the UN, which has appointed a special envoy for the Syrian conflict. But a parallel series of talks has also been organized and held by Iran, Russia, and Turkey in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.

The Geneva talks have focused on fighting terrorism, a new constitution, reformed governance and fresh elections.

Meanwhile, the three rival opposition delegations are planned to meet again later this month to narrow their differences and present a unified position against the government negotiators.

The last round of the UN-brokered talks in Geneva was held in May, and those talks made relatively less progress compared to the Astana talks.

Syria has been beset by conflict since March 2011. Numerous rounds of talks and three different UN special envoys have failed to resolve the crisis.