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UN Envoy Calls 'Temporary Pause' For Syria Talks In Geneva

UN mediator for Syria Staffan de Mistura gestures during a news conference on the Syrian peace talks outside President Wilson hotel in Geneva, Switzerland, on February 3.

The United Nations' envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has announced a "temporary pause" for talks in Geneva aimed at resolving Syria's civil war.

Speaking on February 3 after separate meetings with Syrian government delegates and opposition representatives, De Mistura said he had set a date of February 25 for talks to resume.

De Mistura said he had concluded "frankly that after the first week of preparatory talks there is more work to be done, not only by us but by the stakeholders."

He said, "I have indicated from the first day that I won't talk for the sake of talking."

De Mistura insisted that the talks had not failed, but said the peace process needs immediate help from international backers led by the United States and Russia to resolve outstanding issues.

Syrian opposition delegates at the Geneva talks have demanded that aid be allowed into 18 besieged opposition-controlled areas of Syria.

But although Damascus has allowed some aid deliveries in recent days, an ongoing government offensive that is backed by Russian air strikes has infuriated opposition delegates in Geneva.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and AFP