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UN, Arab League chiefs set to revive Geneva talks on Syria

May 04, 2014, 3:43 UTC+3 UN
No particular progress was reported after two rounds were held in January and February of 2014
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© EPA/MAURIZIO GAMBARINI

UN, May 04. /ITAR-TASS/. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El-Araby, the secretary general of the League of Arab States, agreed on a joint work to revive the Geneva talks on the settlement of the ongoing conflict in Syria, the UN press service said in a statement.

Ban Ki-moon is currently on his official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and on Saturday he held a bilateral meeting with Nabil El-Araby in Abu Dhabi.

“During their discussion on Syria, they agreed to work together to resume the Geneva talks,” the statement said.

In an effort to settle the Syrian crisis an international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, was organized by Russia and the United States and kicked off on January 22 in Montreux, Switzerland. No particular progress was reported after two rounds were held in January and February of 2014. The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.

The so-called Geneva-1 meeting was held less than two years ago and resulted in the signing of the Geneva Communique on June 30, 2012.

The statement from the UN press service also said that both high-ranking officials “also agreed that the planned presidential elections in Syria are not compatible with moving forward.”

The West earlier announced that it would not recognize the presidential election in Syria called by incumbent President Bashar Assad to be held on June 3.

The procedure of registering candidates for Syria’s June 3 presidential election began on April 21. For the first time ever the head of state will be elected on a contested basis, and not through a referendum in support of the existing authorities, contrary to what was the case before. The names of candidates have not been named yet, but few doubt that the incumbent himself will run for the post with the greatest chances to win.

Assad’s presidential term expires on July 17. Even some of his allies acknowledge that holding the voting properly will be a very daunting task. Millions of Syrians are considered as internally displaced persons, and part of the country is under the control of militants.

The statement from the UN press service also said that Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El-Araby “expressed their concern at the continuing violence and humanitarian situation in the country.”

Fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels has left over 100,000 people dead and displaced millions since its start in 2011, according to UN statistics.

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