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UN urges Syrian parties to negotiate 'constructively'

The United Nations Security Council has urged the Syrian government and opposition to engage "constructively and without preconditions" on the UN agenda during the next round of talks in Geneva.

The council called on the parties to fully implement the ceasefire established in December and urged countries supporting both sides to use their influence "to help end violations, reduce violence, build confidence" and ensure delivery of humanitarian aid.

In a press statement, council members strongly backed UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura's efforts to facilitate a settlement of the six-year war based on the June 2012 Geneva agreement by key nations that lays out a roadmap to peace starting with a transition government.

Mr de Mistura announced on Wednesday the fifth round of talks would start on March 23.

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