1 February 2013, 16:13

Russia denies planned Munich meeting with Biden, Khatib, Brahimi

Russia denies planned Munich meeting with Biden, Khatib, Brahimi

The Russian foreign ministry hasn’t confirmed reports alleging that Russia’s Sergei Lavrov was to meet US Vice President Joseph Biden, UN Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Syrian opposition chief Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib in Munich.

“Media reports about the upcoming Munich meeting… are not true,” Lavrov’s deputy Gennady Gatilov tweeted Friday.

US, Russia and UN to meet with Syrian opposition on Saturday

A four way meeting between senior officials from the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the Syrian opposition is scheduled in Munich on Saturday to discuss a political transition in the country, Syrian opposition sources said.

Syrian National Coalition President Moaz Alkhatib will meet U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Syrian Coalition officials said on Friday.

The meeting, on the sidelines of the Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe, comes after Alkhatib survived a challenge to his authority after saying he would be willing to talk with Syrian officials without Assad stepping down first.

Syria’s future ‘cannot include Assad’ – US official

White House press secretary Jay Carney has said the US is intent to make Syrian President Bashar Assad step down.

“What is absolutely the case is that Syria’s future will not and cannot include Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian people have decided that,” Jay Carney said at a press briefing Friday.

He blamed Mr. Assad for killing his own people. “He [Assad] has long since given up any opportunity he might have had to participate in Syria’s future. His hands are drenched in blood, the blood of his own people,” he claimed.

When asked if the White House would back Syrian opposition’s bid to meet with representatives of Assad’s government, the spokesman said Washington’s position remained the same.

“I’m sure that in our conversations and the conversations of our international partners with the Syrian opposition, various approaches will be discussed. But what is unquestionable I think for the Syrian opposition, for the Syrian people is that Assad has to go,” Mr. Carney stressed.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, Interfax

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