'Geneva-2 Syria peace confab set for Nov. 23'

'Geneva-2 Syria peace confab set for Nov. 23'
Sun Oct 20, 2013 20:20:25

Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi has announced the Geneva-2 peace conference for the resolution of the Syrian crisis would be held on November 23, noting that still many problems must be overcome for the success of the long-awaited talks.

The Sunday announcement came following a meeting in the Egyptian capital of Cairo with UN-Arab League Special Syria Representative Lakhdar Brahimi, who is cited as saying that the conference will only take place with participation of “credible [Syrian] opposition.”

Brahimi further refused to publicly set a date for the conference, saying, "The date has not been officially set."

The mixed messages about the Geneva-2 conference reflected concerns that the increasingly divided Syrian opposition would refuse to take part in the talks with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Damascus, meanwhile, has vowed to attend the Geneva meeting, while insisting that it will not engage in talks with “terrorists.”

The renewed push for peace talks comes after a rare US-Russian accord compelled Syria to agree to destroy its chemical arsenal this month, but much of the opposition slammed the deal because it thwarted a much publicized push to prompt US military strikes against Syria.

The main National Coalition opposition bloc said members will decide in the coming days whether to attend the Geneva talks, while the Syrian National Council, a key coalition member, has threatened to quit if they do.

The growing rift among the foreign-sponsored opposition comes amid a surge in fighting among the militants on the ground, with the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) clashing with the Al-Qaeda-linked “Islamic State of Iraq” and the Levant (ISIL).

Meanwhile, Western and Arab governments prepare to meet Syrian opposition leaders on Tuesday in London to persuade them to attend Geneva II.

The Geneva II conference is seen as a chance to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria. The event has been delayed for months.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since March 2011.

According to figures compiled by the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced due to the turmoil in Syria.

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