U.N. Hopeful of Aleppo Truce, Says U.S.-Russia Talks Continue

GENEVA (Reuters) -
U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura attends a news conference after a meeting with the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) during Syria Peace talks at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura. (Reuters/Denis Balibouse)

Talks between senior Russian and American officials aiming for a broad ceasefire in Syria are likely to last into the weekend, as the conflict intensifies further, the United Nations Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura said on Thursday.

“We hope negotiations which have lasted too long, reach an outcome. Time is short,” he told reporters in Geneva.

There was still hope of agreeing to a 48-hour truce in the northern city of Aleppo to allow aid deliveries, his humanitarian advisor Jan Egeland said. De Mistura called on major and regional powers including Iran and Saudi Arabia to help smooth the way for a weekly halt in the fighting there.

As an end-of-August target for restarting peace talks slipped away, de Mistura said he planned a new political initiative to bring the conflict to the attention of the U.N. General Assembly later this month, without elaborating.