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New envoy Pedersen wraps up visit to Damascus, says UN-backed solution to Syria war needed

The new UN envoy to Syria ended his first visit to the war-torn country on Thursday, stressing the need for a UN-brokered political solution to the eight-year conflict. Geir Pedersen, a seasoned Norwegian diplomat, concluded his three-day visit and headed to the Lebanese capital Beirut, AFP reported, citing a UN source. The new envoy tweeted late Wednesday that he had a “constructive meeting” with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem during his stay in Damascus. Pedersen started his new job last week. The diplomat is the fourth UN envoy to seek a solution to Syria’s conflict, after endless rounds of failed UN-brokered peace talks.