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GENEVA, November 4 (Itar-Tass) -U.N., Russian and U.S. officials will meet on Tuesday, November 5, to discuss the text of invitations to the Geneva II peace conference.
The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, is the official organiser of the meeting to be held at the Palace of Nations in Geneva.
The participants in the meeting will consider the text of invitations to be sent by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the government of Syria, the Syrian opposition and external stakeholders.
It is the last two points - the format of the peace conference and which countries to invite - that had led to the failure of the previous two rounds of trilateral consultations in Geneva in June 2013. Moscow believes that representatives of Iran should attend the conference, but Washington objects.
The diplomats will also try to determine a possible date of the conference and its modality. Earlier, one of the Syrian opposition leaders, Qadri Jamil, said that the conference could take place on November 23, but this date was not named officially. And even if the U.N., Russian and U.S. officials agree the date on November 5, it is unlikely to be announced.
Brahimi has said repeatedly that the date should be announced by the U.N. Secretary-General.
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition’s leaders are scheduled to meet in Istanbul on November 9 in order to try to decide whether to attend the Geneva II conference. And this is another reason why the date may not be announced on Tuesday.
Another novelty of Tuesday’s trilateral consultations is that they will be joined in the afternoon by officials from other U.N. Security Council member states (Great Britain, China and France) and later in the day by delegations from countries neighbouring on Syria: Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Turkey. Since the majority of two million Syrian refugees have found shelter in these countries, humanitarian issues will most likely be addressed as well.
The Russian delegation will be led by Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov. The American delegation will be headed by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman.
The goal of Geneva II would be to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012.
The communique lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.
“I believe that the Geneva Communique enables the Syrian brothers to overcome the crisis and opens the way toward building their new republic,” Brahimi said.
As the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Brahimi has consistently called on the U.S. and Russia to exercise leadership and work together to initiate a process to implement the Geneva Declaration of June 30, 2012.
At their talks in Moscow on May 7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to hold an international conference on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, in order to try to overcome the crisis in Syria.
Lavrov and Kerry said that their countries would encourage both the Syrian government and opposition groups to look for a political solution.