UN Envoy: 'Moment of Truth' For Syria as Peace Talks Set to Resume
U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said despite some concerns about recent violence, he believes "a moment of truth has arrived" as he prepared to launch a new round of peace talks aimed at ending nearly seven years of fighting.
The U.N.-led talks in Geneva due to begin Tuesday are the eighth round since 2012. Many of the prior attempts quickly fell apart amid major disagreements between the Syrian government and rebel delegations, including about whether President Bashar al-Assad should remain in office.
The two sides appear to be in the same position after opposition delegation chief Nasr Hariri told reporters Monday that their goal is for Assad to not be in power when a political transition begins.
The government delegation did not arrive in Geneva on Monday, but de Mistura planned to go ahead Tuesday with meetings with opposition figures. Prior rounds of peace talks have proceeded under similar circumstances with one party arriving a day or two late.
De Mistura said he believes it is possible for the two sides to narrow their differences as they negotiate under a framework approved by the U.N. Security Council that calls for a new constitution and elections. But he reiterated that his mediation team will not accept either side entering the talks with preconditions.
缅甸国防军总司令敏昂莱(Min Aung Hlaing)大将在他的官方脸书上发文说：“缅甸根本没有宗教歧视，我们军队也是一样，所做的是维护国家的和平与稳定。”
Pope Francis Meeting With Aung San Suu Kyi
Pope Francis is meeting Tuesday with Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, a day after the country's military chief said he told the pontiff that there is "no religious discrimination" in Myanmar.
The United Nations and the United States have accused Myanmar's military of "ethnic cleansing" in violence against Rohingya Muslims, and Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has faced criticism for her response to the crisis.
"We can’t say whether it has happened or not," she said last week when asked about rights abuses. "As a responsibility of the government, we have to make sure that it won’t happen."
Pope Francis met with the military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, on Monday as he began his trip to the southeast Asian country to discuss the violence in Rakhine state that has caused over 620,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.
"Myanmar has no religious discrimination at all," Min Aung Hlaing said in a Facebook post by his office. "Likewise our military too... (it) performs for the peace and stability of the country."
After the 15 minute meeting, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said the two "discussed the great responsibility of authorities of the country in this time of transition" before exchanging gifts.
Thousands of Myanmar's nearly 700,000 Catholics traveled to greet the Pope as he landed in Yangon, and more than 150,000 have registered to attend a Mass he will hold on Wednesday, according to Catholic Myanmar Church spokesman Mariano Soe Naing.