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Confusion over date for Geneva II peace conference

Brahimi stresses no official date has been announced yet

Lakhdar Brahimi said Al-Khatib has “opened the door, and the Syrian government has said in truth that it confirms what it has been continuously saying, that it is ready for dialogue and for a peaceful solution”. (Photo - AFP)
Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi
(AFP File Photo)

Secretary General of the Arab League announced that the long awaited Geneva II is scheduled for 23 November, although Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the official date is yet to be announced.

The conflicting comments came following a meeting between the two on Sunday morning. Brahimi’s media spokeswoman Khawla Mattar clarified that Brahimi said: “The date for Geneva II will be announced in due time and will be announced by secretary general of the United Nations.”

The Special Envoy did confirm that an agreement was reached on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to convene the conference and that it could not be held without the participation of “credible opposition representing an important segment of the Syrian people” who oppose the regime of Bashar al-Assad, reported AFP.

Brahimi also warned that the conference would not take place without proper representation from the Syrian opposition. The Syrian National Council, the largest bloc in the Syrian opposition coalition, is yet to confirm its attendance and is scheduled to meet in Istanbul this week to discuss the issue.

Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Sunday that interim minister Nabil Fahmy would not be attending Tuesday’s Friends of Syria meeting in London. Egypt will be represented by Deputy Minister Hamdi Sanad Loza and Assistant Minister for Arab Affairs Nasser Kamel. Fahmy is unable to attend as he will be part of  a delegation on a tour of Nile Basin countries at the time of the meeting.

Brahimi met with Fahmy on Saturday to discuss the conflict that has claimed over 115,000 lives in over two years of fighting. Fahmy and Brahimi discussed the efforts to convene the Geneva II conference. Fahmy has previously stated that Egypt is seeking a political solution to the conflict and also opposed the possibility of a United States led military strike against Syrian regime targets in August.

Efforts to organise the Geneva II conference have been ongoing since May of this year. Al-Assad’s regime have agreed to attend the conference but without any pre-conditions in place, including calls for the removal of Al-Assad as president of Syria.

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