Resumption of Syrian peace talks still in limbo – UN

UN SPECIAL Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura highlighted Thursday that the credibility of the next round of intra-Syrian talks seeking to broker a political end to the five-year conflict in the country hinges on tangible improvements on the ground.
“Obviously, we’re in a hurry to reintroduce the next round of intra-Syrian talks,” he said.
“We all know that there is no solution unless we have the talks…We also know that humanitarian aid and the cessation of hostilities alone cannot sustain themselves without the talks,” he added.
These comments followed an International Syria Support Group (ISSG) meeting in Vienna on May 17 which sought to put the Syrian peace process back on track by urging parties concerned to enhance a nationwide cessation of hostilities and grant unimpeded access to humanitarian aid in the country.
A truce set in motion almost three months ago catalysed unprecedented humanitarian access while giving life to a political peace process which has since been put on hold.
As many as 791 425 civilians living in hard-to-reach and besieged areas have received multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance since the beginning of the year.
A total of 13 out of 18 besieged cities have received aid in 2016, compared to only two last year, while 35 airdrops have been carried out in the eastern Syrian city of Deir-ez-Zor, a town besieged by the Islamic State.
Despite these achievements, both De Mistura and his senior adviser Jan Egeland warned that more needed to be done to restore hope in a conflict which has claimed the lives of 400,000 people so far.
Attempts to reach all those in need are still hindered by ongoing violence.
As directed in Vienna, if the access continues to be denied to those besieged cities which have to yet to receive aid, the UN’s World Food Programme is to carry out airdrops of food, medicine and water since June 1. – Xinhua