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Syrian crisis: New round of Geneva talks kick off between UN, Syrian Govt.

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Published: 10:44 GMT, May 16, 2017 |
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The Syrian government delegation arrived on Tuesday (May 16) to meet with U.N. special envoy Staffan De Mistura, kicking off the new round of Geneva talks aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis.

The warring government and opposition delegations arrived on Monday (May 15) in Geneva, where De Mistura said the new round will be shorter and more business-like in order to achieve efficiency and make real progress.

He stressed that there was no solution to Syria’s devastating six-year civil war without a political settlement on the horizon, saying that the alternative is surrendering to the facts on the ground.

This round of intra-Syrian peace negotiations, dubbed as “proximity talks” in which the two sides are not expected to speak face to face, is the third in 2017.

While some progress on the humanitarian front has been achieved, opposing delegations remain at odds as to what the future, peaceful Syria, might look like.

De Mistura’s job is to help bridge deep-seated gaps between rival delegations, while ensuring that any outcome is in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

While progress on the political track has been slow, the U.N. stands by its commitment to pursue peace through political negotiations to prevent further bloodshed in a country where as many as 400,000 people have died and millions more have fled their homes.