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RF, US, UN diplomats to discuss preps for conf on Syria

June 05, 2013, 4:19 UTC+3

Russia will be represented by Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov

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GENEVA, June 5 (Itar-Tass) - A trilateral meeting with the participation of the diplomats of Russia, the United States, and UN officials meet here on Wednesday to discuss prepartion for an international conference on Syria. Russia will be represented at the talks, due to be held in the Palace of Nations which houses the Geneva Office of the UN, by Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov.

The American delegation will include Wendy Sherman, Under Secretayr of State for Political Affairs, and Elizabeth Jones, acting Asssidtant Secretary for Middle Eastern Affairs.

Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Politicsl Affairs, and Lakhdar Brahimi, joint special represrntative of the UN and the League of Arab States, will participate in the trilateral meeting on the UN side.

When speaking at the Russia-EU summit in Yekaterinburg, Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov mentioned it as the principal purpose of the meeting "to fix ways to implement the initiative aimed at convening a conference (on Syria) so that everything be done fairly". One of the main items on the agenda is to determine a list of participants in the conference. Moscow insists that representatives of Iran be invited to the Geneva-2 conference while the US and a number of other Western countries oppose that.

It is not clear up to now which particular opposition forces will be represented in Geneva in view of their deep disunity. This matter will be a subject for discussion not only in a trilateral format. Diplomats have told Itar-Tass that Bogdanov will hold talks with representatives of the Syrian opposition. "This implies representatives of 'responsible' Syrian opposition," the diplomat pointed out.

As far as a timeframe for the conference proper is concerned, Lavrov said Tuesday that it is unlikely to become known on Wednesday.'"At first, we must come to realize that we have got consent on a list of invitees so that all the Syrian sides, all regional and other international players that have an influence on the situation are included in it. A timeframe will be determined after that," Lavrov pointed out.

According to UN data, the Syrian conflict claimed a toll of over 80,000 human lives since March 2011, and over 1.5 million became refugees. A report circularted on Tuesday by the Commission at the UN for investigating possible vilolations of human rights in the S.A.R. says that the conflict has attained a new level of cruelty and that war crimes and crimes against humanity have become an everyday reality.


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