Syria conference not postponed: Russia

Syria conference not postponed: Russia

MOSCOW - Agence France-Presse
Syria conference not postponed: Russia

Russia on Nov. 7 denied postponing a Syria peace conference while not confirming an earlier announced date of November 18, after the plan gained a cool reception from Turkey and its Western allies.

“This congress is being prepared now,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by AFP as telling reporters on Nov. 7.

“No one has postponed it because the date of the congress has not been officially announced,” he added.

Russia pledged during talks in Kazakhstan last week to bring the Syrian regime and its opponents together for a “congress” to push peace efforts in the city of Sochi on November 18.

Then on Nov. 5, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesman İbrahim Kalın said the Kremlin had told Ankara it was postponing the event.

“Following [Turkey’s objection], the Kremlin contacted us and expressed that they had postponed this meeting. This means that as of now, if there are no other changes to be made, this meeting is planned to be held on another date rather than Nov. 18,” Kalın had said during an interview on private broadcaster NTV.

Lavrov in Russia’s first public reaction since then said Moscow was in touch with Turkey, Iran, the Gulf nations and other countries to determine the conference’s agenda and date.

He said Moscow was also in contact with the Syrian government and a range of opposition forces as well as the UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.