UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura gestures during a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 15, 2017. Staffan de Mistura told reporters here on Monday that the warring factions in Syria were ready for a new round of peace negotiations which will kick off Tuesday and most likely end before Saturday. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)
GENEVA, May 15 (Xinhua) -- UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told reporters here on Monday that the warring factions in Syria were ready for a new round of peace negotiations which will kick off Tuesday and most likely end before Saturday.
He said that the 18-strong Syrian government delegation was already in Geneva, showing that the Syrian government was "empowered for serious discussions" and interested in the political process.
He stressed that there was no solution to Syria's devastating six-year civil war without a political settlement on the horizon, saying that "the alternative is no hope, no discussion, no political horizon and just waiting for the facts on the ground to take place."
According to De Mistura, the topic of the latest round of talks would still be those set by the previous talks, namely better governance, a new constitution, re-election, and the war on terrorism.
"We will choose some subjects to be focused on in order to get more movement," he said.
The UN official also said he was encouraged that the new U.S. administration was showing "increasing interest and engagement" in the Syria peace process.
"Everything is connected. There are big important meetings taking place. There are discussions taking place in capitals. They do have an impact on what we discuss," he said.
De Mistura told reporters that the upcoming new round of the Geneva talks would be shorter and more business-like, in order to achieve efficiency and make real progress.
"Even the rooms will be smaller, the type of meetings will be a little bit more interactive and proactive and more frequent," he said.
The upcoming next round of intra-Syrian peace talks will be the third to take place between warring factions since the start of this year.
While some progress on the humanitarian front has been achieved, opposing delegations remain at odds as to what a future, peaceful Syria, might look like.
De Mistura's job is to help bridge deep-seated gaps between rival delegations, while ensuring that any outcome is in line with UN Security Council resolutions.
While progress on the political track has been slow, the UN stands by its commitment to pursue peace through political negotiations to prevent further bloodshed in a country where as many as 400,000 people have died and millions more have fled their homes.