UN chief calls for resumption of talks on Syria
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for the immediate resumption of Geneva talks with a special focus on finding a political solution to the crisis in Syria.
“The only way to end the crisis is through a negotiated solution,” he told reporters on Monday, adding, “We are determined to bring the parties back to the table here in Geneva.”
The second round of talks between delegations representing the Syrian government and the foreign-backed opposition groups in the Swiss city of Geneva deadlocked on February 15 with both sides sticking to their positions. No new date was set for the two sides to resume the third round of talks.
Ban added that he talked on Sunday with UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
The two had come to the conclusion that it is important that “the third round of the Geneva conference should be held again as soon as possible,” he said.
Ban also highlighted that there is first an “urgent need for the parties, and those with influence over them, to reflect on how the talks can achieve the progress the Syrian people and the region so urgently need.”
During the second round of talks, the Syrian delegation said fighting terrorism should be the top priority while the opposition insisted that the formation of a transitional government and resignation of President Bashar al-Assad must come first.
Damascus strongly rejects the demand, saying only the Syrian people can decide the issue.
The talks came 10 days after the first round of negotiations ended without any positive results.
Syria has been the scene of deadly violence since March 2011. Over 130,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the crisis.
According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.