The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is deeply concerned by the recent escalation of fighting in Damascus, Hama and elsewhere in Syria.
He notes that the growing violations in recent days are undermining the ceasefire regime addressed through the Astana meetings, with significant negative consequences for the safety of Syrian civilians, humanitarian access and the momentum of the political process.
Good evening everyone and thank you for being here. As you know yesterday the delegations and invitees all arrived and that Deputy Ramzy met them informally in their own hotels. I know the importance we attach to this round in particular which is the fifth round as you know of Geneva talks. I have been particularly attentive trying to engage and asking for advice and support from all the regional players or interlocutors or stakeholders. That’s why I took one more day because you know we are human beings so you can’t fly everywhere at the same time.
A UN-International Committee of the Red Cross-Syrian Arab Red Crescent inter-agency convoy is delivering multi-sectoral assistance to the Wadi Barada area in Rural Damascus for 24,500 people in need.
This is the first ever inter-agency convoy to reach the area, and follows several attempts to reach the area over the last few months that were unsuccessful, due to administrative and security hurdles.
**Central African Republic
The UN Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) has received reports of heavy fighting between the FPRC [Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique] and the UPC [Union pour la Paix en Centrafrique] in Nzako, some 50 km north of Bakouma in Mbomou prefecture yesterday.
The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, is pleased to note that all invitees to the fifth round of intra-Syrian talks have arrived in Geneva. Deputy Special Envoy, Ramzy E. Ramzy, has begun preliminary informal consultations with them today.
The Special Envoy is returning later today to Geneva, having completed a series of consultations with international and regional stakeholders. He looks forward to formally engaging the invitees to the talks starting tomorrow, 24 March.