Russia, US, UN Fail to Agree on Syrian Conference Date

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At their preparatory meeting for an international peace conference on Syria on Tuesday, representatives of Russia, the United States and the United Nations resolved certain issues regarding the format of the future talks, but failed to set a specific date or agree on the list of participants.

The UN envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said ahead of the conference that the sides would try to agree on the date of the future conference as well as who would be invited to take part.

“We managed to agree on many issues, including on those related, among other things, to the format of this conference, [though] certain issues require additional approval,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, a member of the Russian delegation to the talks.

“The date of the conference remains to be set, because of the issues that I already mentioned. They are yet to be settled,” Gatilov said.

He added that the envoys were to report to foreign ministers in their respective countries, who will then make the final decision. According to Gatilov, these issues will be addressed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry when they meet on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) forum in Brunei next week.

“Additional approval is also required to solve the issue of ensure that [all] Syrian sides take part [in the conference on Syria]. As we know, the Syrian government announced its readiness to attend this meeting. … As far as the opposition is concerned, the [negotiation] process is not over yet. And, as our American partners have told us, they will continue to work on this issue with the Syrian opposition,” Gatilov said, adding that it was important for Russia to bring all Syrian opposition groups to the negotiating table.

The Russian deputy foreign minister added that the issue of weapons supplies to Syrian opposition groups was not raised at the meeting.

The talks in Geneva, which lasted several hours, are the second three-party meeting on the issue. The envoys previously met on June 5. The date of the next meeting is yet to be agreed.

 

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