21:45 GMT +320 July 2018
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    UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura speaks during a press conference on the eve of resumption of peace talks on Syria, on February 22, 2017 at the United Nations offices in Geneva

    Syrian Refusal to Host de Mistura Means Damascus Wants New UN Envoy

    © AFP 2018 / FABRICE COFFRINI
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    The recent Syrian refusal to host UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura means that Damascus does not want him to carry on in this role, a Syrian source familiar with the matter told Sputnik on Friday.

    DAMASCUS (Sputnik) — Earlier this month, an informed source told Sputnik that the Syrian authorities had refused to host de Mistura in Damascus ahead of the latest round of the Geneva talks. Bashar Jaafari, the head of the Syrian government delegation to the Geneva talks, later said this was due to the UN envoy's breach of mandate as a mediator.

    "The fact that we did not host de Mistura indicates our disagreement with his continued tenure… The United Nations should take seriously the fact that Syrian authorities view him as an undesirable person and will work with him without much enthusiasm," the source said, stressing that the envoy's bias had become too obvious.

    This will have an impact on de Mistura's ability to fulfill his duties, the source added, emphasizing that the United Nations should pick his successor with the Syrian attitude in mind.

    "The best way forward given the circumstances is to choose his successor. His work in not marked by a serious attitude, he wants to carry on with the Syrian dossier at the expense of others. His behavior shows that he is fighting to keep his position. Given this attitude, he could not reach any significant result, which could deescalate the situation during the fifth Geneva round. He did not directly condemn the escalation. Such behavior is unacceptable," the source explained.

    De Mistura’s mandate expires late in March. It is not yet clear whether he will continue his work as the special envoy or not.

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    mandate, meeting, envoy, UN, Staffan de Mistura, Damascus, Syria
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