‘Summer vacations’ delay Syria talks
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Rebels rest in an orchard beside a checkpoint during a siege on the Kurdish city of Afrin. The Geneva conference is likely to take place in autumn. REUTERS photoU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on July 2 that the United States and Russia were committed to holding a peace conference on Syria but that it would likely take place after August.
“We both agree that the conference should happen sooner rather than later” to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian war, Kerry said, speaking after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at a security meeting in Brunei.
But he said that the conference, originally planned for June, could not happen this month due to U.S.-Russian meetings and that “August is very difficult for Europeans and others,” a likely reference to summer vacations.
“It may be somewhere thereafter,” he said of the timing of the conference. Kerry said that he and Lavrov shared the view of the last Geneva conference in June 2012 that the best solution for Syria was a political transition, with the regime and the opposition each picking members of a transitional government. “We agreed that we are both serious, more than serious, committed to the Geneva process,” he said.