U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday he did not expect an immediate breakthrough when Syria peace talks restart on Thursday but wanted productive talks that relaunch the process towards a political solution to end the six-year war.

They will be the first U.N.-mediated negotiations on Syria in almost a year, during which time the military and geopolitical context has changed massively. Even so, the same disagreements are likely to resurface.

De Mistura said Russia, which has supported President Bashar al-Assad’s military advances, had asked the Syrian government to “silence their own skies in the areas touched by the ceasefire” during the talks. Countries close to the opposition were also asked to urge them to lessen provocations, he said.

“Am I expecting a breakthrough? No, I’m not expecting a breakthrough,” de Mistura told a news conference. “But I am expecting and determined for keeping a very pro-active momentum,” he said.

Hours later, the Syrian opposition called for face-to-face negotiations with the government delegation, saying it was hoping for a “serious partner” while casting doubt on Damascus’ readiness.

Spokesman Salem al-Muslet, speaking to reporters, said the opposition delegation did not want this round to be like the one a year ago that was fruitless.

Source: National News Agency

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U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday he did not expect an immediate breakthrough when Syria peace talks restart on Thursday but wanted productive talks that relaunch the process towards a political solution to end the six-year war. They will be the first U.N.-mediated negotiations on Syria in...