UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The new U.N. special envoy for Syria said Thursday his goals in the period ahead are to achieve "concrete action" on detained and missing people and the convening of a...
The Latest: Airstrike in IS-held area in Syria kills 20
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
The Syrian opposition says the new U.N. special envoy for Syria has met with officials from the High Negotiations Committee.
HNC said Geir Pedersen and opposition officials discussed "all points that could lead to a political solution."
It released a photo of Nasr al-Hariri, who heads the committee that represents the opposition at U.N. peace talks, during his meeting with Pedersen in Saudi Arabia.
UN envoy: More work needed on Syria constitutional committee
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria said in his farewell U.N. briefing Thursday that an "an extra mile" is needed to form a committee to draft a new constitution for the conflict-torn country because a list of participants submitted by Russia, Iran and Turkey is unacceptable to the United Nations.
Major powers report progress on new Syria constitution body
GENEVA (AP) — The foreign ministers of Russia, Iran and Turkey agreed Tuesday to facilitate convening the first session of a committee to draft a new Syrian constitution early next year, saying they hoped it will lead to the launch of a "viable and lasting" peace process.
In a joint statement read out by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, they said the work of the committee should be governed by a "sense of compromise and constructive engagement."
UN Syria envoy: Work ongoing for constitutional committee
AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — The U.N. Special envoy for Syria said Monday work is still ongoing to form a committee meant to draft a new constitution before the end of the year, adding that hurdles remain in place.
Outgoing UN envoy makes new appeal to Syria’s warring sides
GENEVA (AP) — The outgoing U.N. envoy for Syria appealed Friday to the country's warring sides to agree on a committee to draft a new constitution, seen as a way of bringing the Mideast nation out of its protracted civil war.
Staffan de Mistura said disagreements remain over a "few names" of those who would be on that committee. He said "agreement, particularly on the side of the government" of President Bashar Assad was needed.
UN: No progress on forming Syria constitutional committee
MOSCOW (AP) — Syria's warring sides and the mediators meeting in Kazakhstan failed to agree on the formation of a committee meant to draft a new constitution which is key to ending the seven-year civil war, the U.N. special envoy to Syria said Thursday, calling it a "missed opportunity."
Staffan de Mistura was in the Kazakh capital of Astana where Russia, Turkey and Iran are holding talks with the Syrian government and the opposition on steps to bring peace to the country.
UN hopes for meeting on Syria constitution by late December
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations is still aiming to send invitations to 150 Syrians by mid-December to participate in a committee that would draft a new constitution for Syria, which is key to holding elections and ending the country's civil war, a U.N. envoy said Monday.
Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, told the Security Council that the U.N. also aims to hold the committee's first meeting before Dec. 31.
UN chief announces new Syrian envoy _ Norway’s Geir Pedersen
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the appointment of veteran Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen to one of the U.N.'s toughest jobs on Wednesday — trying to bring peace to Syria after more than seven years of war.
Guterres said Pedersen brings to the job as his special envoy for Syria decades of political and diplomatic experience for his government and the United Nations, most recently as Norway's ambassador to China and before that as its U.N. ambassador.
UN chief to appoint Norway’s Geir Pedersen as Syria envoy
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has informed the Security Council that he intends to appoint veteran Norwegian diplomat Geir Pedersen as his special envoy for Syria.
Pedersen is currently Norway's ambassador to China and previously served as his country's U.N. ambassador. He will replace Staffan de Mistura, who announced this month that he will be leaving the post at the end of November.
UN says Syria is blocking efforts to draft new constitution
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria urged its close ally Russia and world leaders on Friday to try to overcome President Bashar Assad's opposition to the formation of a committee to draft a new constitution that is key to ending the country's civil war.
Syria tells outgoing UN envoy to stay out of constitution
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's top diplomat told the outgoing U.N. envoy Wednesday to stay out of matters concerning the war-torn country's constitution, state media reported, while the U.N. official said they had "a very intense exchange of opinions."
Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem reportedly told U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura that the constitution is a "sovereign" matter and that Damascus will not allow any foreign intervention or meddling in it.
UN official: Syria has withdrawn controversial property law
GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. humanitarian aid official said Thursday that Syria's government has withdrawn a controversial law that allowed authorities to seize property left behind by civilians who fled the country's civil war, calling it a good sign that "diplomacy can win — even in Syria."
Jan Egeland said he was told of the decision by Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
UN Syria envoy to try to move on constitution before leaving
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura said Wednesday that he will make a final effort before stepping down next month to advance toward a new constitution for Syria — a key step in ending the country's civil war.
De Mistura announced at the end of a Security Council briefing that he is leaving the job in late November for "purely, purely personal reasons" related to his family after four years and four months in one of the toughest U.N. jobs.
Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey meet UN envoy on Syria
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria hosted key diplomats from Iran, Russia and Turkey on Tuesday to discuss work toward rewriting the country's constitution, amid concerns about a possibly devastating military offensive on rebel-held Idlib province.
UN Syria envoy floats idea of evacuating Idlib civilians
GENEVA (AP) — Fearing a military offensive, the U.N. envoy for Syria proposed Thursday that civilians holed up in the rebel-held region of Idlib could evacuate to government areas — a move that would send many back into parts of Syria they once fled in its 7-1/2-year-old civil war.
Germany: Possible Syria meeting with France, Russia, Turkey
BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says officials are looking into the possibility of a four-way meeting on Syria involving Turkey, Russia, Germany and France.
The idea of such a meeting has been raised by Turkey. Asked about the possibility Friday, Merkel stressed that there are already two main formats for talks on Syria, both working closely with U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria says he will host senior officials from Iran, Russia and Turkey in Geneva next week to discuss efforts to create a constitutional committee that could help one day bring peace to the war-devastated country.
Staffan de Mistura has recently focused his attention on the diplomatic track with the three powers to try to craft a way out of Syria's seven-year war.
BEIRUT (AP) — A suspected poison gas attack in a Syrian rebel-held town and airstrikes on a Syrian air base that Damascus and Moscow blamed on U.S. ally Israel escalated tensions in the already volatile Mideast on Monday and raised the threat of possibly imminent American retaliation.
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria's seven-year civil war (all times local):
The U.N. Security Council is again demanding a cease-fire throughout Syria and backing a U.N.-endorsed roadmap for a peaceful transition and elections in the conflict-torn country.
The council reaffirmed in a statement following a briefing Friday by the U.N. envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, that U.N.-led talks in Geneva "remain the central process to find a political solution."
The Latest: UN to meet on failed Syria cease-fire
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the war in Syria (all times local):
France says the U.N. Security Council will meet Wednesday to discuss the failure to implement its Feb. 24 resolution demanding a cease-fire "without delay" in Syria.
The truce was supposed to last for at least 30 days in order to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid and the evacuation of critically ill and wounded people from besieged areas.
The Latest: UN says Syria envoy overstated fatalities
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The United Nations says the U.N. envoy for Syria misspoke when he told the Security Council that more than 1,000 people were reportedly killed in violence in early February.
Speaking to the 15-member body Wednesday in New York, Staffan de Mistura said: "Civilians have been killed on a horrific scale: Reports suggest more than 1,000 civilians in the first week of February alone." He did not specify the reports.
UN envoy: This time in Syria is dangerous, violent, worrying
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria warned Wednesday that this is as "violent and worrying and dangerous" a moment as he has seen in four years, pointing to escalating violence on multiple fronts that is undermining prospects for peace and threatening regional stability.
The Latest: UN envoy welcomes effort for new Syria charter
BEIRUT (AP) — The latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The U.N.'s envoy for Syria says he believes talks on a new Syrian constitution could achieve results because countries with influence on the government and opposition appear determined to insist that both sides engage.
UN envoy to reconvene Syria talks in Vienna next week
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria plans to host separate meetings with government and opposition delegations Jan. 25-26 in Vienna, citing "logistical reasons" for a decision not to hold a new round in Geneva.
The office of Staffan de Mistura sent invitations Wednesday for the meetings, which will focus on constitutional issues and will not amount to a full "round" of broader talks like those in Geneva over the last two years.
Syria war winds down but tangled map belies conflict ahead
BEIRUT (AP) — At a news conference announcing the end of yet another fruitless round of peace talks in Geneva last week, the U.N. envoy for Syria held up a color-coded map showing the divisions of territorial control in the war-torn country.
The multi-colored image displayed by a frustrated Staffan de Mistura is what Syria looks like today: a collage of mostly ravaged enclaves controlled by an assorted mix of local and foreign powers, each with a stake in the country's ongoing civil war.
After last Geneva round, UN Syria envoy seeks Russia’s help
MOSCOW (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria has met Russian officials to discuss how to revive the peace process, following another fruitless round of negotiations in Geneva this month.
Staffan de Mistura says he conveyed his disappointment with the latest Geneva talks and asked for Moscow's assistance.
He said he told Russian Foreign Mnister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that he counts on everyone's support to "make sure that the next meeting can be better."
UN envoy says ‘opportunity missed’ as Syria talks wrap up
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria said the latest round of Geneva talks ended without progress on Thursday after two fruitless weeks, calling it a "golden opportunity missed" and acknowledging that he needs to come up with new ideas to make headway toward ending Syria's nearly seven-year war.
The Latest: Syrian opposition says peace talks in danger
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria's conflict and he U.N.-sponsored talks in Geneva (all times local):
The head of the Syrian opposition is warning that the U.N.-mediated peace talks in Geneva are in "great danger" and is accusing the government delegation of sabotaging them.
Nasr al-Hariri spoke to reporters after the eighth and latest round of intra-Syrian talks under the mediation of U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura ended with no progress.
Syrian opposition says government obstructing peace talks
GENEVA (AP) — The Syrian opposition said Tuesday that the government delegation to the Geneva peace talks refuses to negotiate with them directly and insists on only discussing terrorism.
Opposition spokesman Yahya Aridi said the Damascus delegation told U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura it won't negotiate directly with the opposition, making it difficult to move forward in the eighth round of indirect negotiations aimed at ending the nearly seven-year civil war.
Syria gov’t envoy blasts ‘irresponsible’ opposition comments
GENEVA (AP) — The head of Syria's government delegation on Friday blasted the opposition for statements made ahead of the current round of talks in Geneva, saying there can be no progress in light of such "provocative and irresponsible" statements relating to President Bashar Assad's future.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Bashar Ja'afari said his team will be leaving Geneva on Saturday, and that Damascus will decide whether the delegation would return Tuesday to continue the talks.
The Latest: UN envoy says Syria talks to go until Dec. 15
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on developments in the war in Syria (all times local):
The U.N. envoy for Syria says the current round of peace talks is to run through Dec. 15, as he downplayed the need for face-to-face meetings while playing up how the two sides were physically closer.
Staffan de Mistura on Thursday held the first news conference since talks began formally a day earlier with the arrival of the Syrian government envoys. It is the 8th round he has hosted since early 2016.
Syrian opposition, UN open talks in Geneva, await government
GENEVA (AP) — The eighth round of Syria peace talks got under way on Tuesday with a revamped and expanded opposition team meeting with the U.N. envoy in Geneva, but President Bashar Assad's government was conspicuously absent and Russia bemoaned back-channel diplomacy among key world powers.
The government in Damascus said its team would show up on Wednesday.
The Latest: Renewed Syrian opposition insists Assad must go
BEIRUT (AP) — The latest on the civil war in Syria (all times local):
The head of the revamped Syrian opposition says President Bashar Assad's government is afraid of political negotiations and insists it wants his departure before any political transition can start.
Nasr al-Hariri spoke Monday evening to reporters in Geneva a day before the start of the eighth round of U.N.-mediated talks since early 2016, which have yet to produce face-to-face negotiations.
UN envoy to Syria invites opposition to upcoming peace talks
BEIRUT (AP) — The U.N. Special Envoy for Syria said Saturday he will be inviting the Syrian opposition delegation to Geneva for the intra-Syrian talks beginning next week as his deputy held talks with Syrian officials in Damascus over the this month's negotiations.
Tillerson again insists Syrian leader Assad must go
GENEVA (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doubled down Thursday on Washington's call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power, looking past recent battlefield gains by his Russian-backed forces to insist that "the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end."
The Latest: UN envoy announces new Syria talks on Nov. 28
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria (all times local):
The U.N.'s top envoy for Syria says new talks between Syria's government and opposition will start Nov. 28 and is urging those with influence to press both sides to be ready "to negotiate substance."
UN envoy calls for new round of Syria talks in about a month
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N.'s top envoy for Syria announced Wednesday that new talks between Syria's government and opposition will take place "in about a month" and said this eighth round must finally move to "genuine negotiations on the political future" of the war-ravaged country.
Staffan de Mistura told the U.N. Security Council that both sides should use the coming month to create conditions for the talks in Geneva "to be meaningful," and to participate "without preconditions."
UN envoy says Syria de-escalation zones ‘so far positive’
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Syria says the declaration of so-called de-escalation zones has been "so far positive," and hailed a Russian initiative to help bring aid to besieged Syrians.
Staffan de Mistura set no date for new peace talks in Geneva. He said "short" talks might be possible next month, while expressing hope for "substantial" talks in October. He also cited divisions among opposition factions.
GENEVA (AP) — The seventh round of intra-Syria talks aimed at helping end the country's six-year-old war wrapped up Friday, and the U.N. envoy said they featured "no breakthrough, no breakdown, no one walking out, incremental progress."
GENEVA (AP) — The Latest on developments in Syria and the latest round of indirect peace talks in Geneva (all times local):
The U.N. Syria envoy says he plans to convene in September an eighth round of indirect peace talks between President Bashar Assad's government and opposition leaders.
BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the conflict in Syria (all times local):
The head of the Syrian opposition delegation at peace talks underway in Geneva is accusing President Bashar Assad's government of refusing to engage in political discussions.
Nasr al-Hariri of the High Negotiations Committee also challenged the U.N. Security Council to "uphold its responsibilities" and maintain pressure on Assad to honor resolutions that the council has passed.
UN envoy says Syria cease-fire generally holding
GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.'s special envoy for Syrian peace talks on Monday said a U.S. and Russia-brokered cease-fire 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.
A new round of indirect talks that began Monday is the seventh so far between Syrian government representatives and opposition leaders to try to wind down the battered country's 6-year-old civil war.
GENEVA (AP) — Nearly a half-million people who were displaced within Syria by the war have returned to their homes, the U.N. refugee agency said Friday, pointing to a "notable trend of spontaneous returns" this year.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special envoy for Syria expressed hope Tuesday that a first-ever U.N. meeting of feuding opposition groups and an upcoming meeting to put "de-escalation zones" into operation will spur progress at next month's peace talks in Geneva.
Staffan de Mistura told the Security Council that "we are at a time of testing whether the political will exists for real de-escalation and more meaningful political talks and movement beyond preparatory talks."