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UN denies rumors of Staffan de Mistura’s resignation

March 27, 2017, 20:16 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

The Secretary General is "very pleased" with the work the UN's envoy on Syria is doing

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UNITED NATIONS, March 27./TASS/. UN Secretary General is very pleased with the work of his Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and has no plans to sack him, Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General, Farhan Haq, told TASS on Monday in comments on rumors about de Mistura’s resignation.

"The rumors are not true. Staffan de Mistura continues his job, the Secretary General is very pleased with the work that his envoy has been doing and gives him his full support," the diplomat said.

Farhan Haq said the future of the envoy for Syria does not depend on the current round of talks between Damascus and the opposition. "No, it doesn't depend on it," he said.

"As you know we've had different envoys and he (de Mistura) is the third but right now he is the person on the job, he is very committed to it and he has been doing a good job," Farhan Haq said. "He serves at the pleasure of the Secretary General and the Secretary General is currently committed to having him to these talks," he added.

On March 25, Al Arabiya TV reported referring to its own sources that de Mistura will quit his office in mid-April and is expected to take the position of deputy head of the UN Development Program. The television named UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Sigrid Kaag or Bosnian politician Haris Silajdzie as possible candidates for his post.

Other Arab media outlets reported earlier that de Mistura’s contract expires on March 31 and will not be extended. Rumors about possible resignation of the envoy for Syria have been circulating in media for more than a year. Over the recent months, the UN Secretary General’s Office has refuted these reports at least twice - in August and in November. Reports in social networking systems early in the year about de Mistura's suffering a heart attack have also proved to be untrue.

De Mistura replaced Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi who resigned as envoy for Syria in May 2014 after working in this position for two years and helping to convene two rounds of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva. Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan was the first envoy for Syria, quitting the post in August 2012.

Late in September de Mistura told a session of the UN Security Council: "...any sign of my resigning would be a signal that the international community is abandoning the Syrians," saying he would continue his job.

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