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Syria peace talks ‘no earlier than December’: Russian report

Planned peace talks in Geneva to find a solution to solve the conflict in Syria will not take place before December, Russia’s ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a source as saying Tuesday.

“The conference will take place no earlier than December,” said the source close to Tuesday’s three-way talks in Geneva between UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, the United States and Russia.

The news report provided no further details about progress in organising the Geneva peace conference.

Russia is represented at Tuesday’s meetings with Brahimi by Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov.

The so-called Geneva II peace talks on the 31-month crisis were proposed in May during a meeting in Moscow between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Lavrov had said at the time that he hoped the conference could take place by the end of May. Kerry said he though a June date was more realistic.

But the conference has since been repeatedly delayed because of deep disagreements about who should be represented at the talks.

Recently, the word in diplomatic circles had been that the conference would be held on November 23, although the United Nations never confirmed the date.

Some powerful rebel groups have also made Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster a condition for their attendance in Geneva — a stance rejected by both Damascus and Moscow.