New UN Syria envoy meets President Assad

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New UN Syria envoy meets President AssadUnited Nations: New UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura met President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday.

Dujarric said that Mistura’s meeting with Assad Thursday was long and useful, Xinhua reported.

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Mistura arrived in Damascus Tuesday for his first Syria visit as the new UN envoy to the country.

Unlike his predecessor Lakhdar Brahimi who was also mandated by the Arab League, Mistura is representing only the UN.

“Mistura said that the figures received on Syria from a range of reliable sources are shocking, with more than 190,000 people killed, three million refugees, half of the population in need of help and nine million people displaced,” Dujarric said.

After his meetings in Damascus, Mistura will travel throughout the region and come to New York to report to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the information he received on the ground, Dujarric added.

Mistura, who has served previously in Iraq and Afghanistan, was appointed as the new Syrian envoy July.