World

Special UN envoy for Syria says President Assad remains "part of the solution" to end conflict

  • UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura informs the press after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz at the foreign ministry in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura informs the press after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz at the foreign ministry in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, from left, informs the press after talks at the foreign ministry in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura, from left, informs the press after talks at the foreign ministry in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

  • UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura informs the press after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz at the foreign ministry  in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)

    UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura informs the press after talks with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz at the foreign ministry in Vienna, Austria, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N.'s special envoy for Syria says Syrian President Bashar Assad remains part of the equation for ending the nearly four-year conflict.

Staffan de Mistura says he met with Assad recently and "will continue having very important discussions with him because he is part also of the solution."

Mistura spoke Friday after meeting with Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz. The envoy said only the Islamic State extremist group benefits from the Syrian war.

The violence has claimed more than 220,000 lives, according to United Nations estimates.