The Latest: UN envoy announces new Syria talks on Nov. 28
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The U.N.’s top envoy for Syria says new talks between Syria’s government and opposition will start Nov. 28 and is urging those with influence to press both sides to be ready “to negotiate substance.”
Staffan de Mistura told the Security Council on Thursday that he hopes a meeting in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Oct. 30-31 co-sponsored by Turkey, Iran and Russia will “prevent further unraveling of interim de-escalation and cease-fire arrangements” in Syria.
He said by videoconference from Geneva that it’s time to move on the political track to end the Syrian conflict and “now is the moment of truth.”
De Mistura expressed hope that Syria’s disparate opposition groups will meet in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh ahead of the eighth round of U.N.-led talks in Geneva starting Nov. 28.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says that Washington sees no future for President Bashar Assad in Syria’s government, insisting “the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end.”
Tillerson made the comments Thursday after what he called a “fruitful” discussion with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura. De Mistura is expected to reconvene U.N.-mediated peace Syrian talks in the coming weeks in the wake of recent battlefield gains by Assad’s Russian-backed forces.
Tillerson tells reporters: “The United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar Assad in the government,” Tillerson told reporters. “The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end, and the only issue is how that should be brought about.”
The office of the United Nations envoy for Syria says he’ll meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Geneva.
Staffan de Mistura was not expected to make any comments after Thursday’s meeting because he is to speak later to the U.N. Security Council later by videoconference.
De Mistura’s adviser Michael Contet says Tillerson is stopping in Geneva on the way home from a trip to Asia and the Middle East.
The State Department previously said Tillerson would meet with the heads of the U.N. refugee and migration agencies and the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, but hadn’t confirmed a meeting with de Mistura.
Russia-backed Syrian government forces and U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led troops have recently significantly reduced territory controlled by the Islamic State group across Syria.