De Mistura calls for intensifying efforts to combat terrorism

Syrian farmers clean a cow at Raqqad river in Quneitra Syria July 8,2017

Syrian farmers clean a cow at Raqqad river in Quneitra Syria July 8,2017

"We have made, as we were expecting and hoping, incremental progress".

"We have given sufficient explanations to the special envoy about our vision and the way we see this", Jaafari said on Friday after his final meeting with Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations special envoy for Syria.

The UN Syria envoy closed the latest round of sputtering peace talks Friday insisting "incremental progress" was made, driving hope that face-to-face negotiations between armed opposition and the Damascus regime may soon be possible.

He also said he has got no indication so far from the Syrian government delegation on their readiness to address the issue of political transition issue.

That may make it possible for "all sides to be able to sit in the same room and start talking about substance", he added, explaining that he would push for direct government-opposition talks in September.

According to the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, at the meeting with De Mistura, he spoke of recent progresses in the fight against extremists and terrorists, and stressed the need that the UN Security Council and the global community support these efforts in a decisive way.

He noted, however, that there was an increase in "mutual trust" between different Syrian opposition groups.

A day earlier, de Mistura acknowledged that he was not "pushing" for the opposition and government delegations to meet directly until they could engage in "real" talks.

Saying Assad's envoys claim to be the only ones talking about the fight against terrorist groups, de Mistura said no side should have "ownership" of that issue.

Assad's government and the opposition repeated long-held positions before leaving Geneva on Friday.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations and the delegation chief, said the issue of direct talks was something "that has not been raised with us - not directly or indirectly".

The chief delegate for the main opposition High Negotiations Committee, Nasr al-Hariri, told reporters that the talks need to focus on the future of Assad, and he accused the government delegation of stalling the process.

Assad's delegation has declared the president's fate off-limits, while the opposition wants the matter to be part of the negotiations.

The Chinese envoy, on his fourth trip to Geneva for peace talks on Syria, said that another priority now for the talks is to consolidate the ceasefire on the ground and at the same time achieve some periodical results.

Only sporadic violence has occurred since the truce went into force this past Sunday.

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