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Russia, US back Syria peace conference in Nov
October 7, 2013, 10:55 am

Russian and American top diplomats Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry met in Bali on the sidelines of the APEC summit [AP]

Russian and American top diplomats Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry met in Bali on the sidelines of the APEC summit [AP]

The Geneva 2 Peace Conference on Syria will be held in the second week of November, Moscow and Washington have agreed on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bali.

Russian and American top diplomats Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry have mapped the necessary steps for the conference to be held in mid-November, including a major prerequisite of participation of the Syrian government and the opposition.

“We support holding this conference in mid-November,” Sergei Lavrov said.

“Today we have agreed on measures to ensure that both the [Syrian] government and the opposition attend the conference,” he added.

The list of delegations and outside participants is yet to be formed, but Lavrov said these issues would be dealt with within the next few days.

The peace conference was initiated back in May when the US Secretary of State made an official visit to Moscow, but efforts to bring both sides of the Syrian crisis to the negotiations table failed following the preconditions of the Syrian opposition.

Last week Russia’s Foreign Minister urged all sides to halt undermining preparations to the peace conference, which he said were attempts to revive a “military scenario”.

“There are enough provocateurs, and there will probably be more provocations. What’s important now is that it shouldn’t be them who calls the tune but Russia and the United States as the initiators of Geneva-2 along with the United Nations secretary general to whom a request to that effect was submitted in New York,” Lavrov said last week.

During a bilateral meeting at the Bali 2013 APEC summit with Kerry, Lavrov assured Russia will do its best to ensure Assad complies with the UN resolution on destroying Syria’s chemical weapons.

In his turn, Kerry said he is satisfied with how the process of eliminating Syrian chemical weapons is proceeding.

“We agreed again that there is no military solution there. We share an interest in not having radical extremists on either side of any kind assuming greater status or position in Syria, and that is why we recommitted today with very specific efforts to move the Geneva process as rapidly as possible,” Kerry said.

“I think it’s also credit to the Assad regime for complying rapidly, as they are supposed to,” Kerry added.

The final date of the conference will now be decided by the United Nations.

Syria would have been at the forefront of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Barack Obama in Bali, but Obama had to cancel his trip following the government shutdown in the US.


Daria Chernyshova with inputs from Agencies for The BRICS Post

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