UN envoy to Syria: Sides in Geneva talks exchanged documents

GENEVA — Syria’s warring parties taking part in the Geneva talks exchanged documents on Tuesday outlining each side’s basic positions, the UN special envoy said.

The documents can be used to find if there is common ground between the Syrian government’s side and that of the opposition before the current round of talks adjourns later this week, said Steffan de Mistura. Each side ‘‘has to at least show’’ that it is ‘‘serious about wanting to find a political process or political transition,’’ the envoy told reporters in Geneva.

This round of proximity negotiations in Switzerland, in which the UN envoy has been shuttling since last week between the two sides, has offered more promise than previous attempts at negotiations amid a cease-fire that came into effect in February and that has mostly held across Syria.


The talks are expected to adjourn on Thursday and resume later in April.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Moscow for talks with his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Syria. The two are also expected to discuss Ukraine.

De Mistura said Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, which killed at least 31 and wounded scores more, underlined the imperative to find a resolution to Syria’s civil war, which has now entered its sixth year and which has killed more than 250,000 people, according to UN estimates.

‘‘We need to extinguish the fire of war in Syria,’’ de Mistura said. ‘‘We need to find a political solution. We need a political transition in Syria in order to make sure we can all concentrate and the Syrians can all together concentrate on what is the real danger of everyone in Europe, in the world, in Syria and elsewhere.’’

The Islamic State group, which controls territory in Syria and Iraq, said it carried out the Brussels attacks.


Meanwhile, a 27-truck convoy on Tuesday delivered food and other aid to the besieged area of Al-Houla near the central Syrian city of Homs, the International Committee of the Red Cross and a UN humanitarian affairs office said.

Syrian government forces have restricted access to the area, according to the monitoring group Siege Watch.

Associated Press