UN urges Syrian parties to negotiate without preconditions

UNITED NATIONS (AP) " The U.N. Security Council is urging the Syrian government and opposition to engage "constructively and without preconditions" on the U.N. agenda during the next round of talks in Geneva.

The council called on the parties to fully implement the cease-fire established in December and urged countries supporting both sides to use their influence "to help end violations, reduce violence, build confidence" and ensure delivery of humanitarian aid.

In a press statement late Friday, council members strongly backed U.N. special envoy Staffan de Mistura's efforts to facilitate a settlement of the six-year war based on the June 2012 Geneva agreement by key nations that lays out a roadmap to peace starting with a transition government.

De Mistura announced Wednesday the fifth round of talks would start on March 23.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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