Syria peace talks to start from March 14: UN

Geneva The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, confirmed on Wednesday that substantive talks will start on March 14 with the delegations from the Syrian government and opposition. De Mistura noted the talks will focus on forming a transitional government formation, drafting a new constitution and holding general elections within 18 months. The special envoy denied that the ceasefire in force in Syria will end on March 18 midnight, stressing that it is an indefinite cessation of hostilities "from the point of view" of the United Nations. He pointed out that negotiations will focus on finding "a political solution" to the Syrian conflict, rather that concentrating on issues relating to the cessation of hostilities or access of humanitarian aid. De Mistura said that the talks will not last "beyond March 24." The negotiations will be resumed seven or 10 days after March 24, so that each delegation can hold internal consultations, especially for the groups representing the opposition.