Friends of Syria to hold talks in Paris with opposition
US, EU and Arab officials meeting in Rome as the Friends of Syria Group [AFP]
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Ministers from the Friends of Syria grouping are due to hold talks in France on Sunday with leaders of the mainstream opposition to President Bashar al-Assad ahead of peace talks due later this month.
The foreign ministers will meet along with Ahmad Jarba, head of Syria’s opposition National Coalition, a French diplomatic source said Wednesday, according to Agence France-Presse.
The Coalition postponed the decision on participation until next week after failing to reach an agreement in Istanbul this week.
The Syrian National Council, the main group in the Coalition, is threatening to boycott the peace talks unless it has assurances that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will surrender power.
But, the Syrian government said the president will not surrender power and may run again for president later this year.
The U.N.-backed peace talks in Geneva aim at negotiating an end to a conflict that has left more than 130,000 people dead and millions displaced since it erupted in March 2011, according to AFP.
The 11-nation core group of the “Friends of Syria” consist of Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
- French President holds talks in Syria, Jordan before returning to Paris
- Friends of Syria to meet with Syria opposition in London talks this week
- Friends of Syria warn Assad of repercussions of not committing to peace
- Syrian opposition leader due to meet with Russian officials by mid-January
- Syrian opposition leaders threaten to walk away from talks if Assad runs for third term