Syria peace talks set for March 9 will begin the following day with participants due to arrive in Geneva over several days, the UN envoy said in statements published today.
Staffan de Mistura told the pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat it was his “intention” for the talks aimed at ending Syria’s five-year war to begin in the afternoon of March 9.
But he said he expected them to begin in earnest on the following day.
“I think that we will begin on March 10. That is when the process will start,” he said according to an Arabic translation of his remarks published by the newspaper.
While some delegates are expected to arrive in Geneva on March 9, others are not expected until March 11 or even 14 because of “problems with hotel reservations”, De Mistura is quoted as saying.
He said preparatory meetings will be held ahead of “in-depth discussions separately” which each faction.
A first round of talks in early February was cut short amid intensifying Russian air strikes in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
But a fragile ceasefire drawn up by Russia and the United States and backed by the UN Security Council that entered into force on February 27 is now in its second week, despite accusations of violations.