Syria ‘welcomes’ new UN envoy

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iol pic wld Staffan de Mistura AFP New United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura at UN headquarters in New York. Picture: Stan Honda

Damascus -

Damascus on Wednesday said it welcomes the nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN peace envoy, while demanding he shows “objectivity and integrity” in pursuing his Syria mission.

The Italian-Swedish diplomat was on July 10 named to replace hugely respected Algerian Lakhdar Brahimi, who resigned in May after two frustrating rounds of peace talks between the regime and rebels ended in failure.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon published by state news agency SANA on Wednesday, Syria's foreign ministry said it welcomed De Mistura's appointment, while stressing its “conviction of the need for a political solution to the Syrian crisis, through Syrian-led dialogue among Syrians”.

“We hope De Mistura... will show objectivity and integrity, and (commitment to) international law and the principles and objectives of the UN Charter, chiefly respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs, while respecting the Syrian people's will.”

The Syrian government had lashed out at Brahimi on several occasions, accusing him of lacking neutrality and of siding with countries that back the three-year revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

The conflict in Syria has killed more than 170 000 people and forced nearly half the population to flee their homes. - Sapa-AFP

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