Syrian talks to continue until April 27

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Geneva, April 23 (IANS) UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura announced on Friday that he will push on with proximity talks on all possible levels until April 27 in a bid to broker a political end to the five-year conflict as soon as possible.

“We need to try and get as deep as possible by Wednesday in the areas we have been starting to discuss. We can do that formally, informally, technically and practically, but we need to do it,” he highlighted.

While talks have not collapsed, negotiations have been marred by the withdrawal on a formal level of most of the main Syrian opposition delegation the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) team, which unites the bulk of the main Syrian opposition factions attempting to oust incumbent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

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The delegation, which left a technical team here in Geneva, has accused the government of avoiding the issue of political transition amid a worrying humanitarian situation.

The government delegation for its part has called for the creation of a broad-based national unity government to include members who reject terrorism as well as opponents in the national opposition who are not subject to foreign agendas.

The cessation of hostilities agreement, in place for almost two months now, has also been a contentious topic for warring side in the context of an upsurge in violence in areas including Idlib and Aleppo.

While still holding, according to the envoy, the truce will be in a great trouble if action is not taken quickly.

“We can definitely get back on track but it will require urgent efforts because of what we have been witnessing in the last few days,” explained the diplomat, who also estimated the death toll in the country at war since 2011 to be as high as 400,000.

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