GENEVA, 10th January, 2016 (WAM) — Continuing his regional consultations ahead of United Nations-facilitated talks on resolving the crisis in Syria, UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura had a useful meeting yesterday in Damascus with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates of the Syrian Arab Republic, Walid Mouallem.

According to a note issued by the spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in the meeting, Mr. de Mistura outlined preparations currently underway for the intra-Syrian talks, to be held in Geneva starting 25th January, as per the statements adopted in Vienna by the International Syria Support Group and UN Security Council resolution 2254 (2015).

That resolution, the council’s first measure to focus on the politics of ending Syria’s five-year-long war, gave the United Nations an enhanced role in shepherding the opposing sides to talks for a political transition, and endorsed a timetable for a ceasefire, a new constitution and elections, all under UN auspices.

According to the note issued yesterday, while in the Syrian capital Mr. de Mistura had further exchanges with Mr. Mouallem relating to the preparations for the upcoming talks.

“The Special Envoy is looking forward to the active participation of relevant parties in the Geneva talks. He will be continuing his consultations in the region,” the note concluded.