Syria is ready to cooperate with new UN envoy Geir Pedersen as long as he avoids the methods of his predecessor, its deputy foreign minister said in remarks published Sunday.
Pedersen, who assumes the role at the end of November, is the fourth negotiator to have been appointed the UN’s special envoy to Syria since the country’s war broke out in 2011.
A seasoned Norwegian diplomat, he replaces Staffan de Mistura, who announced he is leaving the post last month.
“Syria will cooperate with the new UN envoy Geir Pedersen provided he avoids the methods of his predecessor,” Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Meqdad said, quoted by Al-Watan newspaper.
It would work with him if “he announces his support for the unity of Syria’s land and people and does not side with the terrorists as his predecessor did,” he added, referring to rebel groups.
The Syrian government has long accused de Mistura of bias during his tenure.
De Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat, announced he was stepping down to spend more time with his family after four years in the demanding post.
He had been appointed in July 2014 after veteran Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi resigned following two years in the position.
Brahimi stepped in after late UN chief Kofi Annan quit just six months into the role which he described as “mission impossible”.