U.N. Syria envoy says will focus on political transition in next talks

U.N. mediator for Syria, Staffan de Mistura gives a news conference at the end of the Syria peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, March 24, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. Syria special envoy said on Thursday he was targeting a start date of April 9 for the next round of peace talks, which he expects to focus on the thorny issue of a political transition.

“I am expecting and hoping ... that the next round of talks will not be focusing on principles again - we have had enough of that - there are many valid points there, but we have to start focusing on the political process,” Staffan de Mistura said.

He said that none of the sides had refused a document he had drawn up with common guiding principles to underpin the talks and added that he aimed to reconvene on April 9, although some parties may come as late as April 14, a day after parliamentary elections in Syria.

Reporting By John Irish, Stephanie Nebehay, Tom Miles and Suleiman al-Khalidi