The United National Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura expressed concerns over increasing violence in Syria and called on United States and Russian President to intervene in the growing problem. He said it is time for Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin to intervene ‘at the highest level’ to help salvage Syrian peace talks that are in ‘great danger’ and barely ‘hang by a thread’.
Mistura was attending a press conference at the United Nations Office at Geneva where at the end of the latest Syria peace talks, he said, “I really fear that the erosion of the cessation is unraveling the fragile consensus around a political solution, carefully built over the last year.”
The latest round of talks to resolve the Syria conflict began last Wednesday. The Assad delegation joined the talks Friday following parliamentary elections in Syria.
The talks foundered last week after the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) pulled out of the indirect formal talks with Assad’s envoys in protest of intensified fighting, slow humanitarian aid deliveries and no progress in winning the release of detainees in Syria.
Lamenting the recent upsurge in violence, notably in and around Aleppo, de Mistura said “In the last 48 hours, we have had an average of one Syrian killed every 25 minutes, one Syrian wounded every 13 minutes… How can you have substantial talks when you have only news about bombing and shelling? It’s something that even I find it difficult, can you imagine the Syrians?”
Mr de Mistura said, “The legacy of both President Obama and President Putin is linked to the success of what has been a unique initiative which started very well. It needs to end very well.”
The current truce to end the five-year Syria conflict was brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. It was backed by major global and regional powers who formed the International Syria Support Group. It includes 17 countries as well as the United Nations, Arab League, European Union and Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
Mistura appealed not only for U.S.-Russia intervention but for international support, asking the Security Council to hold another ministerial meeting of the International Syria Support Group. He iterated the urgent need of the meeting as saying it must be held before we lose the window of opportunity to reverse the negative downward spiral.
He also told that the talks would resume soon, though he did not mention any specific date. He said, “The next round of talks is going to take place… they would be meaningful only if and when the cessation of hostilities is brought back to the level we saw in February and March…My appeal is for a U.S. and Russian urgent initiative at the highest level.”
“There is no reason that both of them – who have been putting so much political capital in that success story and have a common interest in not seeing Syria ending up in another cycle of war – should not be able to revitalize what they created, and which is still alive, but barely,” he said of the two countries.
United Nations had released the data of the Syrian Civil War, that has hit the country in early 2011, when the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. The civil war has claimed more than 250,000 lives so far.