June 14, 2017 / 1:01 PM / 2 months ago

U.N. Syria envoy says may hold Geneva talks in July

FILE PHOTO: United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a news conference during the Intra Syria talks at the U.N. offices in Geneva, Switzerland, May 19, 2017.Pierre Albouy/File Photo

FINSTADJORDET, Norway (Reuters) - U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura said on Wednesday he may reconvene peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva in July, depending on the progress made in setting up "de-escalation" zones in Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry had said on Tuesday that talks between Russia, Turkey and Iran to discuss these zones would take place in the Kazakh city of Astana in early July.

"There is an aim of having an Astana meeting sometime early July, just before (the G20 meeting in) Hamburg, and perhaps just before we may be wanting also to relaunch Geneva talks," the U.N. envoy told reporters on the margins of a peace mediation conference.

"They (the talks) will be in July, they will be after Ramadan, but also once we would have helped and made sure the deescalation has really worked," he said, declining to give the precise date.

Ramadan ends on June 24. The G20 meeting is on July 7-8.

Asked whether a June 4 deadline to map out those zones had been met, and whether an agreement had been reached on who would run and observe them, de Mistura said it had not.

"It is a complicated process. While we are talking there are meetings that are taking place just on those issues," he said.

A key to progress, de Mistura said, could be the planned meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S President Donald Trump on the margins of the G20 summit.

"When Russia and America do agree on some parameters, the others (other parties) are in a way easily, or possibly, influenced," he said. "There is a window of opportunity."

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Alison Williams

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