Syrian president pledges cooperation with new UN envoy

Damascus : Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Thursday stressed his administration’s resolve to coordinate with the new UN envoy to Syria to make his mission a success, media reported.

Following a meeting with visiting UN envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Assad said the cooperation with the UN envoy should safeguard the interests of Syrian people in reaching a solution that could guarantee the elimination of terrorism, Xinhua reported citing the state-run SANA news agency.

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The president said the current events in Syria have made fighting terrorism a priority as it has become a grave danger threatening everyone, the report said, adding that the meeting was held in a positive atmosphere.

De Mistura, a former Italian deputy foreign minister, was appointed July 10 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to fill a vacancy left by Lakhdar Brahimi, who resigned in May in frustration after failing to help Syria find a political solution to its long-running conflict.

Brahimi himself had replaced Kofi Annan, the first international envoy to Syria, who also resigned for the same reason.

Following his visit to Syria, de Mistura will visit other countries in the region.

According to the UN, the conflict in Syria, which began in March 2011 after a series of opposition protests against al-Assad, has led to more than 190,000 deaths.

Three million people have fled to neighbouring countries in search of refuge, while 6.5 million more were displaced inside their conflict-ridden homeland.