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UNITED NATIONS, February 10, /ITAR-TASS/. The Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, will hold trilateral consultations won Syria with Russian and U.S. diplomats on February 14, U.N. Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said on Monday, February 10.
He said Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov would attend the meeting for Russia and Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman for the United States.
Earlier in the day, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said such a meeting would take place to discuss the progress at the Syrian talks, the second round of which started in Geneva on Monday.
Brahimi met negotiators from both sides in Geneva to discuss the agenda of the second round of talks, centring on an end to violence and terrorism and the establishment of a transitional governing body.
The basis of the talks is full implementation of an action plan adopted in the so-called Geneva Communique of 2012, the first international conference on the conflict, calling for a transitional government to lead to free and fair elections to end a war in which well over 100,000 people have been killed and nearly 9 million others driven from their homes since the conflict erupted between President Bashar al-Assad and various groups seeking his ouster nearly three years ago.
But a major issue of the first round, which ended on January 31 with Brahimi reporting “no progress, to speak of,” was access to humanitarian aid for 1.6 million Syrians, some of whom have been trapped for almost two years without regular food supplies.
Some progress emerged last week when agreement was reached on a three-day ceasefire to allow people out and aid into the Old City of Homs, where 2,500 Syrians have been trapped without succor for nearly two years in what has become an iconic symbol of the suffering endured by civilians in the war’s relentless bombardments and sieges.
The goal of the international conference on Syria is to achieve a political solution to the three-year-long conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the two sides for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, and since endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.
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.
“It’s very clear to both sides that the ‘meat’ of the conference is how to implement these positions in the Geneva communique,” Brahimi said.
The conference marks the first time the Syrian government and the opposition will meet for direct talks since the conflict began in March 2011. Hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Joint Envoy Brahimi, the conference took place in Switzerland in two parts, opening in Montreux on January 23, 2014, and continuing at the U.N. office in Geneva, on January 24. More than 30 nations had been invited to attend.