UN, US, Russia firming up Syria peace conference

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.-Arab League’s Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met Friday with U.S. and Russian delegations to try to agree which nations should be invited to Syria peace talks in Geneva next month.

Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov, whose country is Syria’s main ally, and U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman were meeting with Brahimi in Geneva.

They also planned to expand the meeting to include diplomats from Britain, China and France – the other three permanent members of the 15-nation U.N. Security Council – and from Syria’s neighbors, who have been struggling to cope with the conflict and the more than 2.3 million Syrian refugees.

Disputes over who should represent the Syrian opposition and government, and whether Iran, Saudi Arabia and other regional powers should be at the table, have blocked previous attempts to bring Syria’s warring sides for peace talks.

Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that Bogdanov, who is the Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East, met a day earlier with the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition’s Secretary General Badr Jamous and other coalition officials.

By The Associated Press


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