Progress made in Syrian peace talks, but agreement still out of reach

The latest round of Syria peace talks in Geneva concluded on March 31.

U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said representatives from all sides of the conflict were engaged and serious about the discussion. He added that they were keen to return for another round of talks.

“After this round, I think I can say, with caution, that all the invitees have gone into considerable detail on the substance of that agenda with us, using exactly the methodology that we had established. They will deny it, of course, because it is normal that they will deny it,” said de Mistura.

The U.N. envoy said although the steps that were taken were small, they were important for future progress.

“I believe that I can speak on behalf of all those who participate that we must, we must maintain this incremental momentum on the political process, even if it is only incremental,” he said.

“No one can deny, and I cannot deny, that there are serious challenges and that I am not seeing immediately this developing into a peace agreement, no doubt about that,” he said.

The Geneva talks first began last year but were suspended after only two days.

The conflict in Syria is now on its seventh year. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions have been displaced.