West against timetable for Syria talks: Russia

West against timetable for Syria talks: Russia
Thu Jun 20, 2013 16:28:33

Russia says the West did not want to commit to a concrete timeframe for a proposed peace conference on Syria because it was not sure the opposition would agree to attend.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday that Moscow pushed for a concrete time frame to be spelled out in the final statement but that its Western partners refused to do so.

In May, Russia and the United States proposed putting together a peace conference in a bid to try to find an end to the conflict in Syria but the date for the talks has repeatedly been pushed back.

At a Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland earlier this week, the leaders adopted a statement calling for the peace conference to be held "as soon as possible."

"Our Western partners chose not to mention concrete dates because they are not at all sure that they will be able to sell the opposition" (on the need to participate), Lavrov said.

"We offered to define such a timeframe. Let it be a month, two, three, it's not important," he said.

"Our Western partners asked (us) not to do it and as a result, it was written down that there's a need to convene a conference 'as soon as possible'. But we all know what such declarations are worth," he said on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg Economic Forum.

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