Third round of Syria talks urgently needed: UN chief

Third round of Syria talks urgently needed: UN chief
Mon Mar 3, 2014 19:58:58

UN chief Ban Ki-moon stressed Monday the urgency of re-launching the Syrian peace process, urging Damascus in particular to return to Geneva with a more "constructive position."

"The only way to end the crisis is through a negotiated solution," he told reporters on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council, adding: "We are determined to bring the parties back to the table here in Geneva."

The UN-led Geneva II peace talks broke down on February 15 when a second round of talks ended with no new date set for them to reconvene.

The UN Secretary General said he had had a long talk Sunday with Lakhdar Brahimi, who has been mediating the talks on behalf of the UN and the Arab League.

The two had concluded that "it is important that the third round of the Geneva conference should be held again as soon as possible," he said, pointing out that next week would mark three years since the start of the Syrian crisis.

"How long should this situation continue this way," he said of the conflict which has killed more than 140,000 people and forced millions from their homes.

He stressed though that there was first an "urgent need for the parties, and those with influence over them, to reflect on how the talks can achieve the progress the Syrian people and the region so urgently need."

The Geneva II talks broke down with the foreign backed militant groups insisting on a transitional government, without President Bashar al-Assad.

The government delegation also insisted that nothing else could be discussed until the "terrorism" issue had been completely resolved.

Ban, who met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva Monday to discuss the crisis in Ukraine but also the Syria conflict, urged any "powers who have influence on the government as well as the opposition forces to exert their influences."

"All parties (should) come to Geneva as soon as possible with a sincere and constructive position," he said.

His comments came as news broke that Mokhtar Lamani, who heads Brahimi's Damascus office, was quitting.

No explanation was given for his departure.


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