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GENEVA —The United Nations special envoy for Syria on Wednesday called on the warring sides there and the international community to revive efforts to find a political solution to a conflict that has devastated the country over more than a decade.
Successive rounds of U.N.-backed talks over years have failed to make headway on finding a political solution to the 12-year civil war that has split Syria along frozen frontlines.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Geir Otto Pedersen called for adoption of what he called a step-for-step approach that would allow all sides to present what they are prepared to concede to reach a possible settlement.
"There needs to be a genuine Syrian-led and owned political process facilitated by the United Nations," he said. "There needs to be a coordinated international effort in support of this. ... Status quo cannot be acceptable. We need to move forward."
The devastation caused by conflict, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced millions and drawn in regional and world powers, has been compounded by large-scale destruction caused by earthquakes that hit northwestern Syria in February.
Pedersen stressed that the warring sides and international players should approach peace efforts in the same way as they made concessions in response to the earthquakes.
"A month ago, there was no prospect of the opening of more border crossings, nor moves to ease sanctions in a concrete way," he said, referring to measures adopted in response to the earthquakes.
"They need the same logic that was applied on the humanitarian front to now be applied on the political level," Pedersen said.
With backing from Russia and Iran, the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has recovered most Syrian territory.
Turkish-backed opposition fighters still control a pocket in the northwest, and Kurdish fighters backed by the United States also control territory near the Turkish border.