Geneva II confab preparations ‘on track’: UN chief

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says preparations for the upcoming Geneva II conference on the ongoing crisis in Syria are “on track.”

“We are on track to convene the conference,” the UN chief said on Monday, adding, “We expect the Syrian Government and opposition to focus hard in the coming days on making their delegations as strong and representative as possible.”

The Geneva II conference, which will be a follow-up to an earlier one held in June 2012, had been proposed by Moscow and Washington on May 7, but was delayed for several months.

On November 25, the UN set January 22, 2014, as the date for the talks.

The conference is scheduled to be held in Switzerland in two parts. On January 22, the opening session of the event will be in the Swiss city of Montreux and then it will be moved to the UN office in Geneva on January 24.

The UN chief further called for the participation of all parties involved in the Syrian crisis in the peace talks.

“Negotiations will be difficult, but without them, there is only bloodshed and despair on the horizon. I count on those with influence to encourage the Syrian parties to come to the Conference with the serious intention to end the war and agree on a peaceful transition,” Ban said, adding, “All involved in this conflict should signal their intention to open the way for a new future.”

According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil that has gripped Syria since 2011.

The UN also says more than four million other Syrians will be forced out of their homes in 2014 by the escalating conflict in the country.

Two million Syrians are expected to take refuge outside the country while another 2.25 million are predicted to be internally displaced next year.

By Press TV


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