Russia blames UN envoy of ‘sabotaging’ Syria talk

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday accused the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura of “sabotaging” a resolution backing peace talks between the regime and opposition.

“The United Nations in the form of its special representative Staffan de Mistura has been sabotaging the resolution for more than six months,” Lavrov said in televised remarks while on a visit to Minsk.

The resolution calls for “holding inclusive Syrian talks without preconditions,” Lavrov said.

“It seems there is no other way except for the patriotic opposition and the government to take the initiative into their own hands and organise Syrian dialogue,” he said.

UN Security Council Resolution 2254 adopted in December 2015 proposed the establishment of a body to head the political transition.

But it has been plagued by disagreements over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the Syrian opposition does not want to see in any future role.

The High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a coalition of foreign-backed Syrian opposition groups, has attended some rounds of the UN-brokered peace talks in the Swiss city of Geneva.

In April, the talks failed after the Saudi-backed opposition group abandoned the negotiating table.

The HNC left the negotiations in protest against what it called escalating violence and restrictions on humanitarian access in Syria and declared a “new war” on the government.

Over 400,000 people have been killed and nearly half of the population have been displaced since the turmoil began in Syria in March 2011.


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