Russia: no Syria peace talks in November

Published November 5th, 2013 - 03:33 GMT
Russia's representatives to Tuesday's preparatory meetings for proposed Syria peace talks accused Syrian opposition figures of opposing "the Geneva communique" (AFP)
Russia's representatives to Tuesday's preparatory meetings for proposed Syria peace talks accused Syrian opposition figures of opposing "the Geneva communique" (AFP)

A planned international peace conference on Syria will not be held in November, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reported on Tuesday, quoting a source at the preparatory talks in Geneva.

Russia and the United States agreed in May to bring together the Syrian regime and Syria’s opposition National Coalition together in Geneva for talks to end the civil war and reach form a transitional government.

But the plans to hold the conference met several obstacles, with the latest being the opposition’s refusal to participate unless there is a commitment from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign.

“Geneva II will be held no earlier than in December,” Itar-Tass quoted the unidentified source as saying during a trilateral meeting between UN-Arab envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, US and Russian officials in Geneva.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the Syrian National Coalition of running counter to the Geneva communique.

"Among the opposition’s preconditions, I can name Iran’s non-participation in the conference. The second one is that before to go to Geneva the National Coalition should know when Syrian President Bashar al-Assad resigns. And the third precondition is that al-Assad opponents should be armed more actively,” Lavrov said on Tuesday, according to Itar-Tass.

“Russia and the US agreed that the Geneva II Conference should be convened without preconditions, but in compliance with the Geneva communique,” the Russian minister said.

"The National Coalition, which has no support in its creation, is marginalised more and more. Other people have real influence among opponents to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad,” he added.

Assad has expressed the desire to run for presidential election in 2014 and stay in power further casting doubts about the proposed Geneva II conference.


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