1044 GMT December 14, 2019
“Moscow has been instrumental to what can be seen as the real momentum in the political solution” in Syria, de Mistura said during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
The UN mediator also said he was hopeful about a new round of intra-Syrian peace talks, which is expected to begin in the Swiss city of Geneva on April 11.
“We need to further develop the political process, to work on strengthening it, and on further progress. It is the cornerstone of our work,” he said.
Lavrov, for his part, said Russia will do its utmost to support de Mistura’s efforts to arrange direct talks between opposing Syrian sides in Geneva.
“Making negotiations inclusive and aimed at promoting direct dialogue between parties is key in any conflict. We will be supporting you in this as much as we can,” the Russian foreign minister told de Mistura.
Lavrov also stressed that it was very important to make sure that the warring parties had made the necessary preparatory work ahead of the next round of talks.
“We believe that it is important now to ensure that each side does well its homework in preparation of the second round,” Lavrov said.
The last round of the UN-backed peace talks for Syria came to a halt on March 24 over disagreements that emerged about the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s future. The foreign-backed Syrian opposition says Assad must step down before a transitional government can be established.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 270,000 people have been killed in the conflict; however, some reports put the death toll as high as 470,000.