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UN Syria envoy: Next round of Geneva talks set for March 23

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a meeting of the Syria peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 1, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

The United Nations special envoy for Syria says the next round of peace talks on the resolution of the Syrian war will be held on March 23.

Following a UN Security Council closed-door meeting on Wednesday, Staffan de Mistura said that counter-terrorism will be added to the agenda in the fifth round of the talks.

He further called on the participants of the upcoming separate Kazakhstan talks to focus on the challenges of the ceasefire in Syria, stressing that without a robust ceasefire, the talks in Geneva "will be fragile."

Referring to the last round of talks in the Swiss city, he said the results of the negotiations exceeded expectations.

“No one left. Everybody stayed. They were focused. We got an agenda. We got a timeline. We got some agreement of substance,” he said.

From L: Turkish Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Russia's special envoy on Syria Alexander Lavrentiev, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kairat Abdrakhmanov, UN envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari pose after the announcement of a final statement following Syria peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan, on January 24, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The last round of the Geneva talks concluded last week with the UN hailing the negotiations as "substantive" and the talks yielding a “clear agenda” for the future of the war-ravaged Arab country.

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The talks were held shortly after the conclusion of the second round of the Syria peace talks, facilitated by Russia, Turkey and Iran, in the Kazakh capital Astana on February 15 and 16. 

For the past six years, Syria has been fighting terrorism. De Mistura estimated in August last year that more than 400,000 people had been killed in the crisis until then. The world body stopped its official casualty count in the war-torn country, citing its inability to verify the figures it received from various sources.  

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