June 26, 2013

US, Russia to meet for Syria peace conference: UN

Wednesday Jun 26, 201309:39 AM GMT

UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (file photo)
UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi (file photo)

The United Nations says US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet next week to facilitate international peace conference on Syria.

On Tuesday, following talks in Geneva between senior US, Russian and UN diplomats, the UN said in a statement that, “The meeting has been informed that Minister Lavrov and Secretary Kerry would be meeting next week." 
"The discussions were constructive, and focused on ways to ensure that the Geneva Conference on Syria can take place with the best chances of success," the UN said in the statement.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also said that Kerry and Lavrov would meet at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) conference in Brunei, adding that, "There the discussion will be continued on further steps towards convening a conference on Syria." 

The UN-Arab League envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said that the situation in Syria was not getting better, adding that he did not expect the peace talks to take place until later in the summer. 

With regard to Iran’s participation in the talks, Gatilov said that Moscow felt Tehran's participation was "needed because Iran has played an important role as a regional country and can make a positive contribution to the settlement of the Syrian conflict." 

Gatilov added that despite agreement on many issues, “there are still some questions that are subject to additional agreement." 

On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed in Moscow to convene an international conference on Syria, which will serve as a follow-up to an earlier Geneva meeting held in June 2012. 

The unrest in Syria erupted over two years ago and many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. 

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting in Syria are foreign nationals. 


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