The United Nations hopes for a “serious negotiation” between the government and a still-to-be-formed unified Syrian opposition in October or November, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday (August 17).
After seven previous rounds that have failed to persuade the adversaries to hold face-to-face talks, let alone make progress, the veteran diplomat outlined a new timetable for talks to end the six-year war in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.
He said he expected a meeting in October, possibly in Riyadh, among the three opposition delegations “to take stock of the realities on the ground”, with a view to consolidation.
Before that, he planned a brief UN round of diplomacy with the oppositions and government around mid-September in Geneva.
“We may be eventually focusing basically on the agenda for the real substantive talks that we hope will take place in October,” he told reporters.