Syria, Russia Discuss Plans for Geneva Peace Talks

Syria, Russia Discuss Plans for Geneva Peace Talks
# 19 November 2013 03:25 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Syrian officials met with senior Russian diplomats in Moscow on Monday to discuss prospects for long-delayed peace talks on the civil war raging inside the Middle Eastern nation, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti.

The delegation of Syrian officials, which included presidential advisor Bouthaina Shaaban and Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, declined to comment on the outcome of their consultations with the Russian Foreign Ministry.

International negotiations are currently under way to reach an agreement on the framework for a peace conference on Syria to be held in Geneva that would involve all sides in the Syrian civil war as well as world powers.

Pro-regime Syrian newspaper Al-Watan last week cited a Western diplomat in Paris as saying the conference would take place on December 12.

Earlier the Syrian opposition said the international conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva II, is possible if humanitarian corridors are opened to areas controlled by Syrian authorities. But the Syrian government has agreed to take part in the conference only if there are no set preconditions.

More than 100,000 people are estimated to have died since fighting broke out between the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the armed opposition in March 2011, according to UN figures. Russia has defended Assad’s government since the conflict broke out, blocking several UN resolutions aimed at imposing sanctions on the Syrian president.

The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces' secretary general Badr Jamus told RIA Novosti on Monday that the coalition is ready to send a delegation to Moscow for talks, but at a different time as the coalition’s head Ahmad Jarba could not go in the period proposed by Russia (November 18-21).

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on the world community Saturday not to miss a chance to hold an informal meeting in Moscow between Syrian authorities and the opposition, which is expected to prepare the ground for Geneva II.

The Geneva talks, which are expected to bring together the conflicting sides in the Syrian civil war, as well as influential regional countries, the United Nations and major world powers, have been delayed several times now over disagreements between potential participants on the key issues of the talks’ convocation.

The conference is designed to be a follow-up to last summer’s international meeting in Geneva that drafted a peace roadmap for Syria.

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