Munich meeting sees hectic Syria talks
REUTERS photoTurkey, the United States, Russia, France, Iran and several other countries will engage in a hectic process of diplomacy regarding the Syrian crisis in Munich over the weekend.
Dozens of government heads and heads of state along with 70 foreign and defense ministers are set to attend the Munich Security Conference where Syria and conflict-ridden Mali will top the agenda.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, are scheduled to meet to discuss the ongoing international campaign to end 22 months of bloodshed in Syria. The foreign minister will also hold talks with some of his counterparts, including French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will discuss the carnage in Syria in meetings on Feb. 2 with Lavrov and Syrian opposition chief Moaz al-Khatib, the White House said.
Biden will also see U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi at the Munich Security Conference on a trip that will also include talks with German, France and British leaders.
Officials said Biden would discuss getting more humanitarian aid into Syria where 60,000 people have now been killed in violence that sparked a refugee crisis when it began.
Syrian opposition sources said senior officials from the United States, Russia and the United Nations will meet the Syrian opposition to discuss a political transition in the country. The meeting will be the first where the United States sits down with Russia, which has influence with the Syrian military, and the Syrian opposition in a new push to end the civil war
However, a senior Russian diplomat played down reports that Foreign Minister Lavrov would hold joint talks with a Syrian opposition leader and U.S. and UN officials in Munich.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is also expected to attend the conference along with the EU’s top diplomat, Catherine Ashton.