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Seventh Round of Syria Peace Talks Commence Amid New Ceasefire

Seventh Round of Syria Peace Talks Commence Amid New Ceasefire

Meanwhile, Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said yesterday a partial ceasefire in southwestern Syria agreed between the United States and Russian Federation should be expanded to all of Syria if it is to be successful.

Later in the day, de Mistura is expected to hold a working lunch with Syrian opposition delegations - the High Negotiations Committee (HNC), as well as Moscow and Cairo groups.

The seventh round of UN-sponsored peace talks between Syria's government and opposition has begun in Geneva with efforts to end the six-year conflict.

The UN's special envoy for Syria has said that a United States and Russia-brokered ceasefire in the country's southwest was generally holding despite some "teething problems", adding he hoped it would contribute positively to talks between the government and opposition.

De Mistura said the de-escalation zones, along the border with Jordan, Lebanon and Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, would contribute to peace talks in Geneva and Astana.




"We consider it a significant development and a step forward into the de-escalation of an area which was becoming increasingly a potentially unsafe flashpoint".

In principle, the new round of Geneva negotiations will focus on four so-called "baskets": a new constitution, governance, elections and combating "terrorism".

De Mistura met a Bashar al-Assad regime team headed by Bashar al-Jaafari, and the main opposition delegation headed by Nasr al-Hariri.

Since March 2011 when civil war erupted in Syria, more than 250,000 people have been killed, according to the U.N. The Syrian Center for Policy Research puts the death toll at more than 470,000.


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