UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday that the Syrian people must be urgently involved in the country’s civil war settlement.
UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday that the Syrian people must be urgently involved in the country's civil war settlement.
Following a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, De Mistura said that "the goal is very clear: the Syrians need to be involved as soon as possible in this [civil war settlement] process."
He added he had recently visited Damascus to hold talks with the Syrian opposition, Sputnik reported.
During a joint press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed hope that diplomats will agree on a list of opposition groups that should be invited to UN-brokered peace talks on Syria.
Moscow previously lamented there is no agreement in the US-led coalition in Syria on who should be declared legitimate opposition to Syrian government — or should be targeted like the so-called 'Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant' (ISIL) takfiri group.
Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that he hopes for an agreement on the Syrian opposition list as well as on a list of extremist groups that "will not be covered by a cease-fire that we hope to declare at some point."
Moreover, De Mistura called on Middle Eastern and Western nations to "use their influence" on various opposition groups they back in Syria "so that these groups come to political talks with a constructive platform."
He also said the UN is ready to host talks between the Syrian government and the opposition "immediately."
Russia and Western nations have been engaged in intense diplomatic talks in the past few weeks, aiming to bring about a political settlement in Syria.
Lavrov's deputy Mikhail Bogdanov said Tuesday that Moscow is aiming to host a round of talks between Syrian officials and opposition leaders next week. He said the Syrian government has agreed to participate but it's unclear which opposition groups might come.
"What is important at the moment is the momentum of the spirit of what we got on Vienna. Everyone agrees that there is an urgency to have a common understanding on how to end this war, this conflict," the special envoy said.
He also said that he would soon go to Washington to facilitate the initiated reconciliation process.