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Russia's UN envoy urges to resume intra-Syrian talks before New Year

December 09, 2016, 3:19 UTC+3

"I think it will be important to try to resume talks before Ban’s office term as Secretary General expires. It will take place in twenty days," Vitaly Churkin said

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UNITED NATIONS, December 8. /TASS/. It is important to resume talks between Syria’s government and the opposition before January 1, when the office term of the incumbent United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, expires, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday ahead of a closed door meeting of the United Nations Security Council that is to be attended by U.S. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de MIstura.

"He [de Mistura] is in a rather difficult situation as he is running out of time. I think it will be important to try to resume talks before Ban’s office term as Secretary General expires. It will take place in twenty days," he said.

According to the Russian diplomat, Russia has called on de Mistura to resume the negotiations as soon as possible and criticized him for his waiting too long for an ideal moment to have the sides sit down at the negotiating table. "Enormous pressure" was exerted on the U.N. envoy, Churkin said, adding that this was the reason why no progress in bridging gaps in the parties’ positions was reached at the previous round of discussions held in Geneva on April 13 through 27.

De Mistura initially planned to resume negotiations between Damascus and the opposition in May but the beginning of another round of discussions was postponed more than once. In the long run, the United Nations envoy stopped to announce even preliminary dates for the resumption of negotiations.

Churkin reminded that earlier in the day, Russia’s and the United States’ top diplomats, Sergey Lavrov amd John Kerry had announced an agreement to organize a meeting of the two countries’ experts on December 10 to discuss the situation in Aleppo where the Syrian government troops are conducting an operation against militants.

However, in his words, Moscow is "somewhat worried" over further actions of the U.S side as Washington has behaved inconsistently when it recalled its initiative on withdrawal of militants from Aleppo several days ago. "We hope the meeting announced for the day after tomorrow will finally be held," Churkin added.

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