UN Envoy Visits Tehran Before Syria Talks

UN Envoy Visits Tehran Before Syria TalksUN Envoy Visits Tehran Before Syria Talks

Staffan de Mistura, the UN envoy to Syria, arrived in Tehran on Tuesday to sound out Iran's position on a political transition in the war-stricken Arab country, ahead of a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva on Wednesday.

He met Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, IRNA reported.

"These discussions are part of preparations for the Geneva talks," de Mistura told reporters after the meeting.

"We discussed several issues with Mr. Amir-Abdollahian, including the important issue of cessation of hostilities."

A ceasefire has been in force since late February, raising the prospect of an end to a five-year-old war between the Syrian government's troops and a patchwork of armed insurgent groups, which has killed over 250,000 people and driven millions from their homes.

"Another issue discussed was the delivery of humanitarian aid to all Syrians, including those in besieged areas," the UN envoy said. Assad's forces are backed by Iran and Russia while rebels rely on the support from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other allies.

In a November meeting in Vienna, the countries involved agreed on a roadmap outlining a peace process that envisaged a ceasefire, talks between the Syrian government and opposition, and a roughly two-year timeline to establish a transitional government and hold elections.