SNC chief in Moscow: Syria gov’t will attend next Geneva talks

SNC chief in Moscow: Syria gov’t will attend next Geneva talks
Tue Feb 4, 2014 13:11:38

The Syrian government will attend the next round of peace talks with the opposition, set to begin on February 10 in Geneva, according to Russia's top foreign official.

"We have no doubt that the government delegation will take part in the second round of international talks in Geneva," Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told reporters on Tuesday before talks in Moscow between Russian officials and the chief of the so-called Syrian National Coalition Ahmed Jarba.

The talks between Jarba and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came after an inconclusive 10-day peace conference in Geneva broke up on Friday without a firm commitment from Damascus to attend a new round set for February 10.

The so-called Geneva II talks were promoted jointly by Washington -- a firm backer of the Syrian opposition -- and Moscow -- an ally of the Damascus government -- in a bid to convince the warring sides to sit down for direct negotiations for the first time.

No progress on ceasefires, humanitarian aide

But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's team and the opposition made no progress on local ceasefires or permission for humanitarian corridors to some of the country's more devastated cities such as Homs.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told the state-run RIA Novosti news on Tuesday that "we expected the government delegation, as it had previously assured us, to take part in future negotiations with the opposition."

Yet Gatilov also conceded that "for now, it is premature to talk about any decisions (about a new round of talks) because these have not yet been made."


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