United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura (L) shakes hands with a journalist after his news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, May 5, 2015. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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The United Nations has adopted a cautious approach to the Syria talks it launched this week, avoiding raising expectations that this latest initiative can end a four-year-old conflict which has so far defied all diplomatic efforts to resolve it.U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura says he wants to talk to diplomats, activists and political and military leaders to see if there is any new common ground since a roadmap for ending the war was declared in 2012 .U.S.-led forces have been striking the group in Iraq and in Syria since the summer.The conflict has killed 220,000 people and displaced millions since 2011, despite earlier diplomatic efforts by de Mistura's predecessors -- Kofi Annan and Lakhdar Brahimi.Nuclear rapprochement could give momentum to the Syria talks but might exacerbate Shi'ite-led Iran's rivalry with Sunni power Saudi Arabia, another Western diplomat who tracks Syria said.With many of the powers involved in Syria also involved in wars or proxy wars in Yemen or Libya, de Mistura says Syria is not a war in isolation, but the most important one to end.
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