Key Syria talks to open in London

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Key Syria talks to open in London

The “Friends of Syria” group meets in London on Tuesday hoping to persuade opposition leaders to attend a planned peace conference in Geneva next month.

By (AFP)

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Published: Tue 22 Oct 2013, 2:14 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:03 PM

British Foreign Secretary William Hague talks to the press.- AFP

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the London meeting was aimed at persuading Syria’s opposition to have a “united position” for the conference in the Swiss city, pencilled in for November 23.

The Syrian National Council, a key member of the Syrian National Coalition, has already said it opposes the conference and threatened to quit the opposition grouping if the regime of President Bashar Al-Assad takes part in the UN-backed Geneva II conference.

“The National Coalition has said they will go to Geneva. Within the National Coalition, there is the National Council which has said it’s opposed to doing that. It will be resolved among the opposition through a general assembly of representatives in a couple of weeks time,” Hague told BBC radio.

Assad dealt an early blow to peace hopes, saying in an interview Monday that he was willing to run for re-election in 2014 and that the factors are not in place for the Geneva II conference to succeed.

US Secretary of State John Kerry earlier said that the Syrian opposition would never agree to Assad staying in power.

“He has bombed and gassed people in his country.... How can that man claim to rule under any legitimacy in the future?”. Kerry said.

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