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Lavrov, Kerry to Discus Syria Conference in Paris

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris on Monday evening to discuss preparations for the upcoming international conference on Syria.

MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris on Monday evening to discuss preparations for the upcoming international conference on Syria.

Lavrov will fly to the French capital from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, right after taking part in a meeting of foreign ministers from member states of a post-Soviet security alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO).

The sides are expected to exchange information on preparing an international conference, intended to facilitate a solution to the Syrian crisis through political dialogue. Lavrov and Kerry announced plans for the conference after their talks in Moscow on May 7. Numerous international organizations, including NATO, the United Nations and the European Union have expressed their support for the initiative.

It will be the sixth meeting between the top Russian and US diplomats this year. They previously met in Berlin, London, Brussels, Moscow and Kiruna.

The conference would be a follow-up to last year’s international meeting in Geneva that drafted a peace roadmap for Syria. Moscow wants to involve all the nations which took part in the Geneva conference.

According to diplomatic sources, the conference may take place in mid-June, but both Moscow and Washington have so far avoided giving exact dates.

The Syrian government has already confirmed its readiness to take part in the conference. Certain Syrian opposition groups also said they were ready to send their representatives.

However, representatives of various Syrian opposition forces, who gathered in Madrid earlier this week to forge a common stance for the conference, have so far failed to agree on taking part without preconditions.

Many Syrian opposition groups demand President Bashar Assad’s resignation as a precondition for the talks.

 

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