Britain urges all Syrian opposition to join peace talks

By REUTERS
October 22, 2013 11:44

LONDON - British Foreign Secretary William Hague said it was vital that all elements of Syria's opposition join peace talks tentatively scheduled for Geneva next month if there was to be an end to the 31-month-old conflict.

Hague was speaking before a meeting in London on Tuesday of the so-called "London 11" nations seeking to bolster the Syrian opposition and lay the groundwork for "Geneva 2".

The talks face great obstacles, including divisions within the opposition, rivalry between rebel groups and President Bashar Assad's reluctance to give up power. Many of the mostly Islamist rebel factions fighting on the ground do not recognize the exile opposition backed by the West.

Hague said the opposition, elements of which are loathe to negotiate with Assad's government, should attend the talks.

"If they are not part of a peace process in Syria then all the Syrian people have got left is to choose between Assad on the one hand and extremists," he told BBC Radio.


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