World Bulletin/News Desk
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said on Sunday peace talks aimed at ending the conflict in Syria would take place on Nov. 23 in Geneva.
"I discussed the Syria file with Lakhdar Brahimi and it was decided that the Geneva meeting would take place on November 23 and arrangements are being made to prepare for this conference," Elaraby told reporters in Cairo after a meeting with Brahimi, the international envoy for Syria.
But at the same news conference, Brahimi said: "The date has not been officially set."
Al-Arabi said the one-hour meeting touched on the Syrian crisis and the preparations for the Geneva 2 conference, voicing hope that the Syrian regime and opposition would take steps to secure a ceasefire and allow relief workers to have access to those in need.
Brahimi reiterated that the meeting came to build up efforts for the Geneva 2 meeting, but stressed that "no final date has been set yet."
The Syrian conflict "is not a local crisis, but an international one that threatens the world peace," the veteran diplomat said.
Brahimi is in Cairo as part of Middle East tour to get support for the Syria peace conference, also known as Geneva 2.
"Following my tour, I would return to Geneva to meet with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to set a final date for the conference, hopefully in November," he said.
Brahimi's spokeswoman Khawla Mattar said the date for the long-awaited peace conference in Geneva will be announced by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon "in due time".
She added that the meeting was likely to place in the "second half of November".
But Fayez Sara, an adviser to Ahmad Jarba, the head of the Syrian Opposition Coalition (SOC), told Anadolu Agency that the coalition has not received any confirmation about the conference's date.
A senior Syrian official said last week that the long-delayed conference was scheduled for Nov. 23-24, but co-organisers Russia and the United States said no date had been set.
International efforts to stop the bloodshed in the 2-1/2 year conflict in Syria have stuttered, but a deal reached last month for Syria to get rid of its chemical weapons arsenal rekindled efforts to convene the conference, dubbed "Geneva 2".
A deeply divided opposition is, however, reluctant to attend, and President Bashar al-Assad's government said it would not consider any deal that required the president to step down.
Najib Ghadbian, the opposition coalition's U.S. representative, said an important component of the coalition had decided against taking part, but said other members of the umbrella group could still decide to go, assuming Assad was not there.
Brahimi, who earlier said there would be no preconditions to attending the peace talks, said on Sunday a conference could not be convened without a "convincing opposition that represents Syria's opposition population".
Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2013, 15:44