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UN Invites Syrian Government, Opposition for Peace Talks


FILE - U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura gives a press conference closing a round of Syria peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations offices in Geneva, Dec. 14, 2017.

United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura announced Wednesday that the U.N. would host the Syrian government and opposition for peace talks in Vienna next weekend.

The meeting is scheduled for January 25 and 26 and will focus largely on constitutional issues, a statement released by de Mistura said.

"The special envoy looks forward to the participation of both delegations in this special meeting. He expects that delegations will be coming to Vienna prepared for substantive engagement with him and his team with a specific focus on the constitutional basket of the agenda towards the full implementation of Security Council resolution 2254," the statement read, referring to a 2015 resolution demanding an end to attacks against civilian targets.

The scheduled talks will occur days before a slated peace congress in Russia aimed at finding a settlement to the six-year war.

In the statement announcing the Vienna talks, de Mistura also reiterated the U.N. position that "any political initiative by international actors should be assessed by its ability to contribute to and support the United Nations-facilitated Geneva political process and the full implementation of resolution 2254."

Over 340,000 people have been killed and millions driven from their homes in Syria since war broke out in March of 2011.