Russian, US, UN sets date for Syria peace talks

May 30, 2013 17:21

Three-way meeting in Geneva to prepare for int'l conference, but opposition threatens boycott unless settlement forces Assad out.

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Former Syrian National Coalition President Moaz Alkhatib and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Moaz Alkhatib with John Kerry 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Remo Casill)

MOSCOW - Russian, US and UN officials will meet next week to discuss ways to bring the warring sides in Syria together for a peace conference, Russian news agencies quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying on Thursday.

"Preparations for the international conference on Syria will be discussed" at the three-way meeting in Geneva on June 5, Interfax quoted the unidentified Russian ministry source as saying.

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The official said US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman would attend the June 5 meeting. State-run news agency RIA said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov would also take part.

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry said on May 7 they would try to bring Syrian government and opposition representatives together as soon as possible for talks aimed at ending the 26-month-old conflict. No date has been set for the conference.

Lavrov accused the opposition Syrian National Coalition of undermining peace efforts after it said on Wednesday it would take part in the conference only if a deadline was set for a settlement that would force Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power.

Lavrov and Kerry agreed to the June 5 meeting in Geneva with UN representatives at talks in Paris earlier this week, the Russian Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying. No further details were immediately available.

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