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Russia accuses UN envoy of 'sabotaging' Syria peace talks

Russia has said Mistura is sabotaging talks [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 November, 2016

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Russia has said UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura has been sabotaging a Syria resolution for more than six months.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has accused the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura of "sabotaging" a resolution backing peace talks between the regime and opposition.

"The United Nations in the form of its special representative Staffan de Mistura has been sabotaging the resolution for more than six months," Lavrov said in televised remarks while on a visit to Minsk.

The resolution calls for "holding inclusive Syrian talks without preconditions", Lavrov said.

"It seems there is no other way except for the patriotic opposition and the government to take the initiative into their own hands and organise Syrian dialogue," he said.

UN Security Council Resolution 2254 adopted in December 2015 proposed the establishment of a body to head the political transition.

But it has been plagued by disagreements over the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whom the Syrian opposition does not want to see in any future role.

In January and February, de Mistura oversaw indirect talks which were cut short as the opposition denounced the regime's offensive in northern Syria that was bolstered by Russia's forces.

Despite efforts to relaunch the talks in April, they eventually collapsed when the opposition announced it would not formally participate as long as government forces bomb civilians.

Russia launched air raids on opposition areas in Syria in September 2015, intervening on the request of Assad, Moscow's longtime ally. The bombing has cost thousands of Syrian lives, most of them civilians.

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