UN-Arab League envoy in Egypt to prepare for Syria talks

TEHRAN, Oct. 20 (MNA) – The UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, headed to Cairo to prepare for the next round of talks on the Syrian crisis, scheduled for November 23 and 24 in Geneva.

Brahimi will meet with the Egyptian foreign minister as well as the secretary-general of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, his spokesman said Friday.

His visit will also cover “several countries of the region” ahead of the talks but the schedule remains uncertain due to the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. The tour will include Damascus and Tehran, AFP reported.

It remains unclear whether the divided Syrian opposition will attend the talks, dubbed Geneva II, next month.

The US and Russia have been trying to bring the Damascus government and Syria’s divided opposition to the negotiating table for months, but the meeting has been repeatedly delayed and it remains unclear whether either side is really willing to hold talks while the war is deadlocked.

The main Western-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, has not decided whether to attend, and many rebel fighters inside Syria flatly reject negotiating with President Bashar Assad’s regime. The government, meanwhile, has refused to talk with the armed opposition.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of 11 countries, which form the Friends of Syria group, are due to meet in London next week with representatives of the Syrian National Council to discuss the civil war and the upcoming talks in Geneva. The meeting is due to take place on October 22.

The 11 comprise United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Times of Israel



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