UN mediator plans to hold next round of Geneva talks in January

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday he planned to hold the next round of Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva in January 2018.

According to the UN official, he needed to meet with the UN Secretary General and Security Council in New York first.

“I need to discuss it [the results of the eighth round of the talks] with the [UN] Secretary General in New York,” he said, adding that he was leaving for the United States “this weekend.”

The UN mediator added that he also planned to visit Syrian reconciliation talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.

“I will gladly go to Astana on the request of the UN Secretary General and on an invitation from the Kazakh authorities,” he said.

Commenting on Russia’s initiative to convene a congress of Syrian national dialogue in Sochi, de Mistura said too little information on the initiative has been available so far to make any assessments.

However, he added that any Syrian reconciliation initiative must be aimed at supporting the Geneva process.

No concrete date for the congress has yet been appointed. Nevertheless, the congress is called to bring together representatives of all groups of Syrian society to work out further steps towards Syria’s new constitution. According to the Russian top diplomat, the congress must be as representative as possible. On November 23, Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said that the forum would be convened as soon as the list of its participants was agreed.