UN envoy optimistic over Syria talks in July

UN envoy for Syria said today he hoped that talks set to begin next week in Astana would help create favorable conditions for the next round of talks scheduled in Geneva, despite rising tensions.

Staffan de Mistura’s remarks came a day after United States announced the regime of Bashar al-Assad was preparing a fresh chemical attack, warning that Damascus would pay a heavy price for such an assault.

Fresh talks for peace in Syria sponsored by Russia, Iran and Turkey are set to be held in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on July 4 and July 5 before a seventh round of UN-sponsored negotiations on July 10 in Geneva.

During the last talks in Astana in May, Russia and Iran – allies of Assad – and Turkey, a supporter of the rebels, adopted a plan that envisaged the creation of secured zones in order to establish a lasting truce in several regions.

The last round of negotiations in Geneva concluded on May 19, without real progress.

Tensions between the various sides in the Syrian conflict, which has claimed more than 3,20,000 lives in six years, have grown this month.

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