US, Russia start Syria bargaining
LONDON / MOSCOW
Free Syrian Army fighters walk with their weapons in a damaged neighborhood in Homs. REUTERS photo“This will require all the parties to come together in good faith,” Kerry said, adding that when Brahimi travels to the region after this week’s Eid al-Adha holiday, he will “meet with all of the relevant countries, as well as the relevant parties.”
“And he will be working on the question of the process for a Geneva II conference,” Kerry said.
For its part, Russia urged the U.S. to do everything in its power to persuade the Syrian opposition to take part in peace talks after a key group said it would not attend the proposed conference in Geneva. The first Geneva conference took place in the Swiss city in June 2012.
“We very much expect our American partners and other countries, which not only have influence on various opposition groups but also ... encourage these opposition groups to continue fighting, to realize their responsibility for creating conditions for performing their share of the work for convening Geneva II,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
George Sabra, the president of the Syrian National Council, the biggest member of the opposition National Coalition, said Oct. 13 that the group would not attend suggested peace talks in Geneva.
Sabra said it was impossible to carry out negotiations given the suffering of people on the ground.
Lavrov said Sabra’s statement highlighted the urgency of holding the conference. “The main obstacle on this path remains our partners’ inability to make the Syrian opposition, which they are looking after, go to Geneva and sit at the negotiating table with the government.” By contrast, he said, Russia was doing its share of the work to help convene the conference.