Syria calls on new UN envoy to avoid predecessor's 'methods'

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria says it will cooperate with new U.N. envoy Geir Pederson if he avoids the "methods" of his predecessor.

Pedersen succeeds Staffan de Misutra, who stepped down after four years of peace efforts in that led nowhere.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was quoted in the pro-government daily Al-Watan on Sunday as saying Syria would cooperate with Pederson if he commits to Syria's territorial integrity and stops supporting "terrorists, as his predecessor did."

De Mistura convened several rounds of indirect peace talks between the government and the opposition aimed at ending the civil war, which began in 2011 and is still underway.

His latest efforts focused on negotiating a joint government-opposition committee to draft a new Syrian constitution. The government, which refers to the opposition as "terrorists," calls it "meddling."