De Mistura asks UN Security council to hold Geneva talks on Syria February 20
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told reporters on Tuesday that he asked the Security Council to hold the intra-Syrian peace talks in Geneva on February 20th instead of February 8th, Sputnik reported.
De Mistura suggested to send the invitations for the Geneva talks on or around the 8th of February. Explaining why he suggested to postpone the talks, the Special Envoy said he wanted to give a chance for the "Astana initiative to implement itself".
"I did ask the [UN] Security Council and based also on the discussions I had with the SG [Secretary-General] to postpone the talks until the 20th [of February]," de Mistura stated.
He also said that with the talks now planned for February 20, the Syrian government will have an opportunity to engage in serious discussions on the issue and opposition groups, in their turn, will be given a chance to come to the Geneva talks as one unified group.
The envoy pointed out that if the Syrian opposition delegation is not formed by February 8 for the talks in Geneva he would select the delegates as per UN Security Council resolution 2254.
"This time, if by the eighth of February the opposition will not be ready to come up with a unified group I will have to… apply what I have not yet applied which is a prerogative that [Security Council resolution] 2254 gave the special envoy to actually select the delegation in order to make sure that it can be as inclusive as possible," de Mistura stated.
The Geneva round of intra-Syrian talks under UN auspices was initially set for February 8. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that the negotiations would be postponed until late February.