U.N. hopes for Syria peace talks in October/November

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations hopes for “serious negotiation” between the government and a still-to-be-formed unified Syrian opposition in October or November, the U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.

“Regarding the (Syrian) government, we are counting very much on Russia, on Iran, on anyone who has got major influence, and on the government of Syria to be ready finally to initiate when they are invited to Geneva, a genuine, direct negotiation with whatever (opposition) platform comes out,” he told reporters.

De Mistura also said that a letter from Russian defense minister Sergei Shoigu in August had paved the way for Russian military police to be staged along the route of a U.N.-Red Cross convoy which reached Douma in eastern Ghouta near Damascus on Thursday, the first time since May.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Toby Chopra

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