Syria talks date to slip by only week or two: Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the peace talks for Syria could be delayed to a week or two. (Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday he believed Syrian peace talks could still be held in the coming weeks, although Washington and Moscow have failed to set a date.

U.N.-Arab League special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said earlier this week that, after a three-way meeting in Geneva, it had not been possible to agree on when to hold the talks which had been proposed for the end of November.

Kerry said he thought there would be some “clarity” in the coming days and the peace conference “might be moved by a week or something like that.”

Speaking at a press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Kerry said part of the reason for the delay was plans by the Syrian opposition to meet on Saturday in Istanbul to discuss whether to attend.

“People are trying to respect their process appropriately,” Kerry told reporters.

“So I'm confident that somewhere in the next days a date is going to be set,” he said.

And he said he wasn't worried even if it is two weeks later as it was “going to give people time to prepare. It's going to open up more opportunity for the variations of options to be able to be explored.”

The talks would be aimed at bringing together the opposition coalition and the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to try to draw up a transition government and end the 31-month conflict.

The main umbrella opposition National Coalition has said it plans to meet in Istanbul on Saturday to decide whether to attend the peace talks.

But a key member of the bloc has threatened to quit if it decides to attend, and some rebels have warned all participants will be deemed traitors.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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