Date of New Geneva Syria Talks Unclear Amid Conflicting Reports

A sign of Syrian government delegation is pictured before a meeting with U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura during Syria peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

MOSCOW/GENEVA, April 27 – Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted on Wednesday as saying Syria peace talks would resume in Geneva on May 10, but a spokeswoman for the U.N. special envoy on Syria said no date had yet been fixed.

The RIA news agency had reported Bogdanov’s comments earlier on Wednesday, but when asked about it a spokeswoman for Staffan de Mistura, the U.N. special envoy, said in an email that talk about May 10 was speculation and that no date had been set.

De Mistura, who is struggling to keep negotiations alive after the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) left formal talks last week, was due to give a news briefing later on Wednesday.

The Syrian government said on Tuesday it had held a final session of talks with de Mistura in a “useful and constructive round”, but diplomats warned that an escalation of fighting around Aleppo threatened the shaky peace process.

George Sabra of the HNC said on Wednesday it was up to the United Nations to say when peace talks would resume, but said his group would not take part until its demands were met.

“All the while real steps aren’t taken on the ground in Syria, the participation of the delegation of the HNC will remain suspended,” Sabra told Reuters.

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