U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura attends a news conference regarding Syria peace talks in Geneva.
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There is no doubt that the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has persevered through extraordinary challenges during four-and-half years in the role.De Mistura has meanwhile been criticized for doing anything necessary to keep the U.N. talks alive while letting them devolve into negotiations without substance.'A waste of jet fuel'De Mistura briefed the Security Council last week about his faltering bid to create a committee to revise Syria's constitution, a project conceived at separate negotiations in Sochi led by Iran, Russia and Turkey.He had voiced hope the committee would be agreed on before the General Assembly, where the Syrian conflict that has killed more than 360,000 people since 2011 will top the agenda. The actual work of revising Syria's constitution therefore does not appear imminent, while the U.N'.s broader mandate of negotiating "political transition" in Damascus appears to be on the back burner.Throughout, Assad has been able to nominally claim he is participating in U.N. talks while pressing a military campaign.Since 2008, the UN's peacemaking record has largely been defined by failure, Harland argued in a paper presented at the Oslo Security Forum.There are many reasons why -- like an increasingly dysfunctional Security Council -- but some are internal UN shortcomings evident in de Mistura's mandate, Harland argued.
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