Iran, Saudi Arabia among 30 countries invited for Syria talks

Iran, Saudi Arabia among 30 countries invited for Syria talks
Thu Dec 12, 2013 15:16:45

Iran and Saudi Arabia are among more than 30 countries invited to attend the Geneva conference on Syria war next month.

The so-called Geneva 2 conference, a follow-up to a 2012 meeting, is aimed at mapping out a political solution to end nearly three years of fighting that has killed more than 120,000 people and displaced millions.

However the January 22 meeting will actually be held at the lakeside Swiss city of Montreux because of a shortage of hotel rooms in Geneva, which will be hosting a luxury watch fair, a Western diplomat told AFP.

"At the moment there are 32 countries invited, but that number may increase because everyone wants to come," an Arab diplomat told AFP.

"In addition to the five permanent members of the Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China), there are the neighboring countries, as well as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and also Germany and Italy and others."

Shiite Iran is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, while Saudi Arabia has strongly backed the Sunni-led rebels.

Most countries will be represented by their top diplomats and "each minister can speak for five minutes," the Arab diplomat said.

Afterwards, many of the foreign ministers will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, which runs from January 22 to 25.

The Syrian government and the opposition will each send delegations to the meeting, and will hold bilateral talks hosted by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on January 24 in Geneva.

"Each delegation will be composed of nine members and both the government and the opposition should present their lists to the UN by December 27, but it is not certain they will respect this date," the Arab diplomat said.

Composing the list could prove a daunting task for Syria's opposition, which is riddled with internal divisions and increasingly at odds with powerful groups fighting on the ground, many of them linked to al-Qaeda and against the conference.


string(721) "[{"id":"1533295","sort":"3135003","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/11/alalam_635197614676340758_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria rebels set 3 conditions for attending Geneva talks"} ,{"id":"1534361","sort":"3135004","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/14/alalam_635200519256008670_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Putin, Assad discuss preliminaries for Geneva talks"} ,{"id":"1538965","sort":"3135005","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/11/28/alalam_635212262568063273_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syrian opposition agrees to attend Geneva 2 talks"} ,{"id":"1540120","sort":"3135006","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2013/12/01/alalam_635215164996025659_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Syria talks: Main opposition has no influence over the situation"} ]"