U.N.-Observed Polls in Syria 18 Months from March 14

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Elections in Syria observed by the United Nations should be held in 18 months, the U.N.'s Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura told Russia's RIA Novosti state news agency on Friday.

"New elections ... should be held 18 months from the start of talks, that is from March 14. The elections, both presidential and parliamentary, will be under U.N. observation," de Mistura said in an interview translated into Russian.

The latest round of negotiations aimed at ending Syria's war are to begin on Monday.

The U.N. envoy said the first question on the agenda was "an inclusive new government" followed by a new constitution and elections.

"I hope that during the first stage of talks, we reach progress at least on the first question," de Mistura was quoted as saying.

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