Geneva, Feb 14: The United Nations Peace Talks on Syria have been deferred to February 23. Earlier, the talks were to be held on February 20 in Geneva.
Officials speaking on behalf of the UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Monday that the official invitation letters were sent and delegations are expected to arrive around February 20.
In a note Yara Sharif, spokesman for the UN Special Envoy said that the talks will be formally started on February 23.
Late last month, during a public meeting in New York, the UN special envoy to Syria had already announced a first delay of the talks, the beginning of which was scheduled for February 8. The postponing was aimed at giving more time to the Syrian opposition to prepare for the meeting in Geneva.
On February 12, the main movement opposed to President Bashar al-Assad announced the 21 names of the delegation, invited to sit at the negotiating table with the representatives of the Syrian government and the UN mediators.
In the past, “indirect” talks between the two sides were held in the Swiss city. These meetings produced general statements of intent and the announcements of the cease-fire, in reality, were never been observed in the field.
Meanwhile, international diplomacy is moving on several fronts: Russia and Iran, close to the government of Damascus, and Turkey, allied to the rebels, have promoted a new round of talks between envoys of Assad and leaders of armed groups in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, for February 15 and 16. Last month, for the first time since the war began in 2011, Moscow, Tehran and Ankara were able to gather the leaders of the two fronts around a table.
However, so far there has not been a real breakthrough to determine a future path of peace and normalisation in the country.