The U.N. special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, will hold separate talks May 4 with representatives of the warring sides in an effort to revive the collapsed peace process in the four-year conflict, a senior U.N. official said Friday.
Ahmad Fawzi, the U.N.’s director of information, said the talks are expected to last four to six weeks.
On Friday, de Mistura met in New York with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the U.N. Security Council. On Thursday, he met in Washington with the U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House officials, Fawzi told McClatchy.
The Italian-Swedish veteran diplomat was also set to meet Monday in New York with the UN ambassadors of Turkey, Canada, Syria, Russia, and the U.S.
Fawzi said invitations to the so-called “Geneva consultations” went out a couple of days ago and noted they were sent “to as many stakeholders as possible, primarily Syrians, and also regional and international players.”
Recipients included all the permanent members of the Security Council, as well as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Fawzi said.
“These are separate consultations with each delegation, mostly at ambassadorial level, and expert level,” Fawzi said. The goal is to take stock “of where we are now.”
Asked about the format, Fawzi told McClatchy de Mistura hopes to create some goodwill.
“Right now the talks are frozen,” he said.
The special envoy is expected to report back to the Ban by June 30.
The last round of peace talks, sponsored by the U.S. and Russia, and chaired by Lakhdar Brahimi, then the U.N. special envoy for Syria, collapsed in February 2014. The two sides could not agree on the goal for the talks.