Syria

Syria opposition casts doubt on Geneva talks

SYRIA-CONFLICT

Wrangling between Syria’s foreign-backed opposition groups has cast doubt on the Geneva II conference regarding the crisis in the Arab country.

UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi said in the Egyptian capital Cairo on Sunday that the presence of “credible” opposition is necessary for holding the Geneva II conference.

Brahimi made the remarks after a meeting with Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi.

He refused to publicly set a date for the conference, saying, “The date has not been officially set.”

However, Al-Arabi said that the Geneva II conference was decided to be held on November 23.

He went on to say that “preparations are underway for this conference” and that there were still obstacles to holding the meeting.

Western and Arab governments prepare to meet Syrian opposition leaders on Tuesday in London to persuade them to attend Geneva II.

The so-called Syrian National Coalition (SNC) is set to meet on November 1-2 in the Turkish city of Istanbul to decide whether to participate in the Geneva II conference.

The conference is seen as a chance to find a political solution to the crisis in Syria. The event has been delayed for months.

The Syrian government has said that it will participate in the talks, but will not negotiate with “terrorists.”

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. Reports indicate that the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.

Foreign-sponsored militancy in Syria has taken its toll on the lives of more than 100,000 people and led to the displacement of millions, according to figures released by the United Nations.

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