Russia: Syrian opposition blocking peace conference

By REUTERS
July 10, 2013 18:50

MOSCOW - A Syrian opposition leader is undermining chances for proposed peace talks by saying that foes of President Bashar Assad will only attend if they make military headway first, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.

Ahmad Jarba, the new president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, told Reuters on Sunday it would not go to the conference that Russia and the United States are trying to convene in Geneva unless its battlefield fortunes improve.

"If you follow this logic, we will never manage to convene any conference," Lavrov said when asked about the issue at a news conference after meeting the foreign minister of Belarus.

Russia and the United States said on May 7 they would try to bring Syrian government and opposition representatives together at a conference to try to end a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people since March 2011, but no date has been set.


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