MOSCOW, December 20. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian presidential special envoy for the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has met Syrian Vice-Premier, opposition leader Qadri Jamil to discuss preparations for the Geneva II Peace Conference, the Foreign Ministry reported on Friday.
“The officials discussed the development of the situation in Syria, including humanitarian aspects, and the pace of preparations for the Geneva II Peace Conference scheduled for January 22, 2014,” the ministry said.
In the meantime, Russian, U.S. and U.N. diplomats have met in Geneva to prepare the Geneva II Peace Conference due to take place on January 22, 2014.
In the last six months this is the fifth round of consultations. The latest talks were held on November 25. The parties agreed on the date and the place of the conference: it will be launched in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22, 2014. However, the parties failed to settle disagreements on two moments - in what format the opposition will be represented and what countries should be invited. It is not ruled out that these issues will be raised at the current meeting.
Then the meeting should be joined by representatives of other member-states of the U.N. Security Council (in addition to Russia and the United States, these are Britain, China and France), delegations of four states neighboring Syria (Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq) that accepted and deployed more than 2.4 million Syrian refugees.
The United Nations Organisation believes that the year 2014 will be also grave for Syria in the humanitarian aspect. A total of $6.5 billion out of $12.9 billion due to be provided to Syria for humanitarian operations are designed to be rendered to Syria. The number of Syrians, who need assistance, is estimated of 16 million people. The total population in Syria is of about 20 million.
Over 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since armed clashes between the government and rebels have begun in March 2011, the U.N. said.