Syria Talks in Geneva Extended Until December 15

The UN’s Syria envoy on Thursday said the eighth round of peace talks in Geneva would continue through the middle of next month.

The ongoing round of Syria talks in Geneva which began on Nov. 28 will continue until Dec. 15, Staffan de Mistura told a press conference in the UN at Geneva.

There will be a short break for the weekend and the talks will resume on Tuesday, Dec. 5, he added.

De Mistura held “separate but concurrent” meetings on Thursday with delegations from the Syrian regime and opposition during the eighth round of Syria peace talks at the UN in Geneva.

At the start of both meetings, de Mistura addressed the delegations, saying: “Today we are having a more advanced and formal meeting, because we are having what we are calling ‘close proximity parallel meetings.”

The UN said in a statement that at both meetings, de Mistura addressed the so-called “four baskets” for discussion with both sides: a new constitution, governance, elections and combating terrorism, and the issues of detainees, abductees, and missing persons, along with the need for full humanitarian access in any besieged or hard-to-reach areas, such as Eastern Ghouta.

“We had very close proximity parallel meetings between the listed two parties. In fact l have been shuttling with my colleagues between the two rooms, which basically were 5 meters apart,” de Mistura told reporters.

In practice this means that the two parties met in separate rooms situated close together, allowing for the UN mediators to shuttle back and forth.

After today’s meeting, Yahya Aridi, spokesman for the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC), said in a statement: “We have had good discussions with Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura about the pathway towards progress in the Geneva talks.”

“We are ready to stay engaged in the talks for as long as necessary,” he added.

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