'Friends of Syria' nations to meet in Jordan next week

AMMAN - The 'Friends of Syria' nations backing President Bashar Assad's opponents will meet next week in Jordan to discuss peace talks sponsored by the United States and Russia, Jordanian officials said on Tuesday.
"The peace conference will be the focus of the meeting," one of the officials said, adding that the meeting would be held in the middle of next week, without specifying the date.
A European official, who will attend the meeting and who asked not to be named, said the United States was trying to explore all peaceful options before acting more forcefully.
"The meeting will discuss pressuring Assad through other means. The Americans prefer to bring Assad to the table to end this peacefully but they are making it clear that they are not ruling out the military option, whether direct or indirect action," he said.
"Holding the conference 160 km (100 miles) from Damascus is a clear signal that the international community is keeping up pressure on Assad," the official said.
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