Launch of Syrian Peace Conference in Jeopardy
(NEW YORK) — A conference being brokered by Washington and Moscow to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria appeared on the verge of collapse after talks on Tuesday failed to produce any details about when it will be held or who will attend the summit.
It’s now up to Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov, to try and salvage what looked like a sure thing last month when they initially announced the plan for the Geneva talks. The high-ranking diplomats are due to meet next week.
Tuesday’s discussions with proxies for Kerry and Lavrov appeared to be largely a wasted effort. There’s now little chance a peace conference will be held in July as the violence in Syria continues unabated.
While the U.S. and Russia agree that there should be a transitional government in Syria once the government and rebels end hostilities, Washington and its allies want President Bashar al-Assad to step down while Moscow maintains that only the Syrian people can decide who their leader will be.
Further straining U.S. and Russia relations is Moscow’s refusal to turn over former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to U.S. authorities after he flew to Russia from Hong Kong to escape extradition for leaking classified information to the news media.
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