UN Said to Seek Syria Peace Conference Pegged to Iran Talks’ End

The United Nations is preparing for talks with Syrian parties and President Bashar al-Assad’s government in an effort to convene a peace conference by the end of June, according to a UN Security Council diplomat.

Staffan De Mistura, the UN’s Syria envoy, will brief the Security Council on April 24 on his plans for consultations throughout May and June with Syrian civil society organizations, women’s groups, opposition members and officials in Assad’s regime, possibly in Geneva, said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity citing protocol.

De Mistura is resorting to an tactic that his predecessor Lakhdar Brahimi tried unsuccessfully more than a year ago. De Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat, had no other options left after failing in his “bottom-up” approach of brokering fighting freezes in specific cities with the hope of building trust toward a resumption in peace talks, the diplomat said.

Syrian peace talks held at the end of June might yield more success than previous attempts because they would coincide with the June 30 deadline for six world powers to negotiate a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

De Mistura is counting on the possibility that the nuclear talks are successful and will lead to Iran agreeing to use its influence on the Assad regime to help broker an end to the war that has killed more than 210,000 people, according to a senior UN official who also asked not to be named citing sensitivity of the matter.

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