UNITED NATIONS — The international mediator on Syria told the UN Security Council on Thursday that Damascus was delaying efforts to resume Geneva talks to end the three-year-old civil war, diplomats said.

UN and Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said the government was engaged in “delaying tactics” and that any re-election of President Bashar al-Assad would complicate mediation efforts.

The war, which has now entered a fourth year, has killed more than 140,000 people and displaced millions since March 2011.

Brahimi was briefing a closed session of the 15-member Council after a second round of peace negotiations collapsed in Geneva on February 15.

Brahimi broke off the talks, known as Geneva II, to give the government and opposition an opportunity to take stock, and without setting a date for another round of negotiations.

Brahimi told the Council that he doubted a new seven-year term for Assad would end the suffering of the Syrian people, diplomats told AFP.

Assad is expected to see a new term in a presidential election planned for the middle of this year despite the raging conflict.