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U.S., Russia fail to set date for Syrian peace talks

Wed., Nov. 6, 2013

GENEVA – After a rocky day of U.N.-brokered talks, the United States and Russia failed to agree on a date to bring Syria’s warring sides back to the negotiating table, and the two powers remained divided Tuesday over what role Iran should play in a hoped-for peace conference.

The U.N.-Arab League’s top envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told reporters at the end of the talks involving the U.S., Russia and other nations that the impasse did not mean all hopes of resuming negotiations from June 2012 were dashed. Another round of U.S.-Russian talks on arranging a second peace conference in this city is planned for Nov. 25.

“We are still striving to see if we can have the conference before the end of the year,” he said.

Brahimi said one of the biggest hurdles is various divisions among the Syrian opposition. “It is no secret to anyone that the opposition has a lot of problems and is working seriously to overcome these problems to reach a position and to appoint a convincing delegation to represent them in Geneva, and that is what has delayed us a bit,” he said.

Diplomats at the U.N.’s Palais des Nations ran into repeated roadblocks Tuesday. World powers strongly disagreed over what diplomatic steps to take to resolve the fighting and what any future Syrian leadership beyond President Bashar Assad’s government should look like.

Syria’s information minister, Omran al-Zoubi, said the Assad government is not ready to negotiate handing over power.


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