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Russia, US, UN officials begin meeting in Geneva to prepare conference on Syria

November 05, 2013, 13:33 UTC+3

Negotiating parties failed to come to agreement over two key, partially intertwined issues during previous talks

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Photo ITAR-TASS/Korzheva

Photo ITAR-TASS/Korzheva

GENEVA, November 5 (Itar-Tass) - Russia, U.S. and UN officials began a meeting in Geneva on Tuesday to try to agree on the date of a peace conference on Syria.

Two Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov represent Russia at the talks at the Palace of Nations, where the European UN Office is situated in Geneva. U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman heads the U.S. delegation. U.S. Ambassador in Syria Robert Ford, who was recalled from Damascus in February 2012 and still works in Washington, arrived with her in Switzerland. United Nations and League of Arab States Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi participates in the trilateral meeting representing the UN. He acts as a formal organizer of the meeting.

The first two rounds of talks were held in June and ended in a flop, because the negotiating parties failed to come to agreement over two key, partially intertwined issues - in what format the Syrian opposition will be represented at a peace conference dubbed Geneva-2 and which countries can be invited to participate in a forum. These issues are also on the agenda of the meeting on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, after the tripartite meeting, representatives of other members of the U.N. Security Council will join the consultations. Along Russia, the United States, Great Britain, China and France will join the talks. Later the number of participants in the negotiations will enlarge from the delegations of the neighbourly countries to Syria, including Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, which received the overwhelming majority of two million Syrian refugees.

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