U.N. chief on Geneva II: Syrian govt, opposition invited
Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary General, said Saturday that the Syrian government and the opposition will be sent invitations for the Geneva II peace conference on Dec. 20, Al Arabiya News Channel’s Paris correspondent reported.
The U.N. chief said he would meet on Sunday with U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to discuss details of the peace conference, due to be held on Jan. 22.
“We will work to form a transitional government with executive powers as decided during the Geneva I conference,” said Ki-moon, who is currently in Paris for a two-day Africa-France summit that concluded on Saturday.
The U.N.-backed Geneva II peace talks aims to bring representatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the opposition to the negotiating table in a bid to end the bloody 32-month civil conflict, which has so far claimed 126,000 lives.
The opposition has agreed to attend the talks on condition that they lead to a transitional period excluding Assad and his regime.
But government officials and their Iranian and Russian backers insist there should be no preconditions, with Assad having expressed his wish to run for president again next year.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad said last week that no solution will be agreed with Assad’s approval.
The proposed talks come amid rising international fears of an Islamist takeover in Syria.