• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Swedish diplomat says Syria talks 'unrealistic'
From the left, Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Swedish-Italian diplomat Staffan de Mistura Photo: AP Photo/Matthias Schrader

Swedish diplomat says Syria talks 'unrealistic'

AFP/The Local · 19 Feb 2016, 15:06

Published: 19 Feb 2016 15:06 GMT+01:00

“I cannot realistically call for new Geneva talks starting on February 25th,” the UN's special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper on Friday.

“We need 10 days of preparations and invitations. But we will aim to do this soon,” he said in a telephone interview from Damascus.

Indirect talks in Geneva between the Syrian government and the opposition collapsed on February 3rd after a Russian-backed regime onslaught on the northern city of Aleppo, and a second round was pencilled in for February 25th.

Born in Stockholm, De Mistura is a Swedish-Italian diplomat who began his UN career in 1971 with the World Food Programme in Sudan and has since served in trouble spots including Afghanistan, Iraq, Rwanda, Lebanon, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia.

He has been working as the UN's special envoy to Syria since summer 2014.

De Mistura made a surprise trip to Damascus after world powers last week called for immediate aid access throughout Syria and a “cessation of hostilities” to begin by Friday.

“I cannot say when I will call for talks. We have been disappointed in the past, now I am pragmatic and determined,” he told the paper. “We need real talks about peace, not just talks about talks.”

“I would like that the US and Russia, with their partners, agree about a beginning of a cessation of hostilities between today and mid-next week,” he said. “Now the ball is in their court.”


Staffan de Mistura. Photo: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

De Mistura also warned of the dangers of the five-year Syrian war developing into a wider regional conflict, voicing concern about actions by neighbouring Turkey.

He said Turkey's bombardment of Syrian Kurdish fighters across the border has made the need for a solution ever more pressing.

Story continues below…

“Turkey is complicating everything and it might complicate things further. This is a reason for more urgency. Major countries must realise that we need to put a lid on what can become even more of a regional and proxy conflict,” he said.

“Any type of further conflict along the border of Syria has the potential to spin out of control.”

The United Nations has also begun delivering aid to people living in areas of Syria besieged by the government, rebels and jihadist forces.

“On the humanitarian side, the beginning is there but needs to be pushed ahead,” de Mistura said.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Sweden wants UK to move quickly towards exit
Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after Monday's meeting. Photo: Johanna Johansson/TT

"We can’t have the EU in limbo for too long," said the Prime Minister.

Brexit vote
UK can't cherry-pick EU rules, says Sweden
Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson following the meeting on Monday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson commented on the consequences of Brexit after a meeting with Swedish businesses on Monday.

Why this Swedish canal was filled with dead rats
Removing dead rats from a canal: not the easiest summer job. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Over 140 dead rats were removed from Malmö's canals on Monday.

Is this Swede the new Vincent van Gogh?
Ivar Arpi (left). Photo: Tomlin Studio

He's winning a worldwide competition to find the person who most resembles the Dutch master.

Brexit vote
Swedish stock market plummets in Brexit aftermath
The Stockholm Stock Exchange felt the full force of Brexit on Monday morning. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

Monday is the first day of trading in Sweden since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and negative effects are already being felt, with stocks down by almost five percent at lunchtime.

Brexit: Sweden’s leaders meet for talks about 'our friend'
Ebba Busch Thor outside the PM's office before Monday morning's talks. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

“The UK is our friend and we have to respect the decision.”

Brexit vote
Poll: Sweden still wants to stay in EU after Brexit vote
Most Swedes polled don't want a referendum on EU membership. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

A post-Brexit poll shows that the majority of Swedes would still vote to stay in the EU.

My Swedish Career
'I was only supposed to stay in Sweden for a few months'
Dan Paech, the founder of Run With Me Stockholm. Photo: Private

Meet Dan Paech, 31, the Australian who found his entrepreneurial path in Stockholm.

Sweden murder probe after refugee centre death
One person had been detained and other potential witnesses were being questioned. Photo: TT

Swedish police on Sunday launched a murder investigation after a young woman was found dead at a shelter housing asylum-seekers.

Sweden trials electrified highway for trucks
The truck draws power as it moves at speeds of up to 90km/h (56mph) while putting out no emissions. Photo: Scania AB

The Swedish truck firm Scania, in partnership with German engineering company, Siemens, is developing the world’s first “eHighway”, a four kilometre stretch of highway north of Stockholm.

Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
'A morning of sorrow': Sweden reacts to Brexit vote
Sponsored Article
How to find student housing in Malmö: 5 tips
International
Sweden opposition cools talk of 'Swexit' poll
International
'Devastated' - Brits in Sweden shocked by Brexit vote
Blog updates

17 June

Queen’s Birthday Stockholm 2016: 9th June. 90th Birthday. 900 Guests! (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"What do you do when you read that the Queen’s 90th Birthday in London will be…" READ »

 

10 June

i lördags, på lördag – time phrases for present, past and future (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! Swedish time phrases can be difficult to master. It takes a lot of practice to…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Stockholm school celebrates Nepal Project success
Gallery
People-watching: June 22nd
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Private
The Local Voices
'Swedes don't treat me differently because I wear a hijab'
Culture
How do Swedes celebrate Midsummer?
Culture
Coming soon: Sweden’s smelly fermented fish
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Assange lawyer: Sweden should recognize UN opinion
Private
The Local Voices
Why is this Syrian dentist who hugs like a Swede worried about undies?
Swedish nationalist 'shot and ate' lion and giraffe
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Analysis & Opinion
'Sweden's residency revamp is harmful and inhumane'
Sponsored Article
The man behind Sweden's biggest music festival
Photo: The Local
The Local Voices
UNHCR boss: 'It's hard to start your life without your family'
Politics
VIDEO: Brits in Europe say why UK should stay
Sponsored Article
US expats: Have you met your tax deadlines?
Photo: Marko Risović
The Local Voices
World Refugee Day: Searching for safety in Europe - in pictures
Sponsored Article
Malmö: Home to the best food in Sweden?
National
Is Swedish nationalists’ foreign food ban bananas?
Sponsored Article
VIDEO: Why Malmö is the world's 6th best city for biking
Gallery
Property of the week: Söråker
Sponsored Article
5 reasons you should try dating with The Inner Circle
International
Poll shows huge support for EU in Sweden
The Local Voices
How a Syrian scuba diver mobilized Sweden's biggest asylum centre
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
Sport
Zlatan: 'If we'd been fighting for real, he'd be in hospital'
The Local Voices
Orlando reflections: Is it possible to be gay and Muslim?
Sweden to go ahead with migrant age tests
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th-19th
National
Will you be hit by changes to Sweden's residency laws?
3,325
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se