US, Russia and UN to meet next week on Syria peace talks plan

US, Russia and UN to meet next week on Syria peace talks plan

GENEVA - Agence France-Presse
US, Russia and UN to meet next week on Syria peace talks plan

Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon stands along awaiting to meet Russian President at Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Blach Sea resourt of Sochi, on May 17. AFP photo

A preparatory meeting for a proposed international conference on the conflict in Syria will take place in Geneva next week, the United Nations said May 30.

"We can confirm that on 5 June 2013 in Geneva, US, Russian and UN officials will hold a three-way meeting to further the preparations for the international conference on Syria envisioned under the US-Russian initiative," a statement said.

The UN will be represented by its peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi as well as Undersecretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

No indication has been given about who will represent the United States and Russia, which are spearheading the bid for a new peace initiative to end more than two years of conflict in Syria estimated to have killed more than 94,000 people.

The proposed conference, dubbed Geneva 2, is facing serious obstacles in getting warring parties to the table.

While Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime has agreed "in principle" to attend the talks, the main opposition National Coalition is refusing to take part until tall order demands are met.

The National Coalition has been recognised by many Western and Arab governments as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

It insists any negotiations with the regime must lead to Assad's resignation, a position Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticised on May 30 as unrealistic.

The first Geneva conference produced a power transition plan for Syria in June last year that was never implemented because it identified no specific role for Assad.