UN Syria envoy underlines need for ‘new beginning’ in war-ravaged country
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UN Syria envoy underlines need for ‘new beginning’ in war-ravaged country

“We need to see a new beginning inside of Syria. We need to build trust between the different communities and to make sure that we move forward in parallel with the political process,” Pedersen said at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on Tuesday. He added, “We need still also to focus on the Daesh, and the fact that the Daesh is dramatically weakened but perhaps not completely defeated.” The Norwegian diplomat, who took over from Staffan de Mistura in January, also pointed to “Israeli bombardments of the Syrian territory” as something which needed to be “sorted out.” On Monday night, Israeli military units launched a series of attacks against residential neighborhoods in Syria’s strategic southwestern province of Quneitra. Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Israeli tank shells targeted a hospital in Quneitra and a nearby observation post. The report added that the shelling caused material damage but no casualties. Maas, for his part, repeated calls for a sustainable political process in Syria. “We all want Syria to get back to stability as soon as possible. We want a better future for the Syrian people. And we can achieve that with a sustainable and permanent political process that integrates the interests of all,” he added. On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold a tripartite summit in the Russian coastal city of Sochi to provide further coordination among the three countries. The three leaders, who are going to hold their fourth such meeting in the Astana format, will concentrate on the long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis. The summit will be held before the 12th Astana talks in the Kazakh capital, Astana. The first round of the Astana talks commenced a month after the three guarantors joined efforts and brought about an all-Syria ceasefire. Moscow, Tehran, and Ankara have been mediating peace negotiations between representatives from the Damascus government and Syrian opposition groups in a series of rounds held in Astana and other places since January 2017. The talks are collectively referred to as the Astana peace process.

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