No Geneva II peace talks before October - Russian diplomat
Syrian army soldiers walk on a road during an alleged pursuit of opposition fighters in the Latakia province, western Syria on August 8. (AFP/SANA)
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The US-Russian initiated Syrian peace talks are unlikely to be held before October, a Russian diplomat said Tuesday, citing a busy diplomatic schedule as the cause of the delay.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax news agency Tuesday that although there are talks set for late August that will cover the dynamics of the Geneva II conference, which aims at bringing Syrian President Bashar Assad and the opposition together, he added that the peace conference itself will not occur before October, according to Reuters.
"It [the peace conference] is unlikely to happen in September because there are different events, including the ministerial week at the UN General Assembly," Gatilov told Interfax, Reuters reported.
"We are for it happening as soon as possible, but need to be realistic about circumstances which could effect the forum", the Russian diplomat added.
Russian and US officials last week agreed that the forum should take place as soon as possible but no plans that might bring the warring Syrian sides together was offered.
The Geneva II conference was initially proposed by Washington and Moscow on May, and has undergone large delays.
Moscow has repeatedly sold arms to the Syrian government since the conflict began in 2011 and has ensured that Assad has been largely shielded by condemnation and sanctions at the UN, Reuters reported.
Lakhdar Brahimi, UN Arab League peace mediator, held talks with Russian and US officials in Geneva and reiterated that there will be no peace conference before the end of August.
Significant gains made by Assad and his troops since the announcement of the conference, such as their success in the strategic city of Qusayr in late June, have cast doubt over whether Assad will partake in the conference.
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