TEHRAN, Oct. 21 (MNA) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is due to hold talks with Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid al-Attiyah on Monday, ahead of a meeting with other core members of the Friends of Syria and the Syrian opposition.The two men are meeting in Paris before traveling to London for Tuesday’s meeting, which will include diplomats from 11 nations that have backed rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The talks come as efforts continue to convene a long-sought Syrian peace conference that would bring together Syria’s government and the opposition with a goal of negotiating a political settlement to the country’s crisis.
Officials have given conflicting signals in the past week about whether a date for the talks has been set.
Arab League chief Nabil el-Araby said on Sunday that the peace conference would be held on November 23. However, at the same news conference, U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said there would be no talks without credible opposition representation. He refused to publicly set a date before completing visits to Qatar, Turkey, Iran and Syria.
Opposition leaders have threatened to boycott the proposed peace conference unless Syria’s President Assad agrees to step down. Assad insists he will remain in office until his term ends in 2014, and possibly seek re-election as well.
The nations participating in Tuesday’s meeting include Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
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