US committed to convening conference on Syria
Updated: 2013-11-05 08:20
WASHINGTON - The United States remains committed to holding a peace conference on Syria in Geneva in November as a negotiated solution is the only way to lead Syria out of its current crisis, the White House said on Monday.
"We need to press on Geneva as a way to resolve this bloodshed in Syria because otherwise the alternative is so dire indeed for the Syrian people and for the region," White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a daily press briefing.
Carney said UN-Arab League joint special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will have a trilateral meeting with the US and Russian officials in Geneva on Tuesday.
US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also expressed hope that the Geneva meeting could be held in November. She told reporters that the United States is "focused on getting the right representatives to the table."
The United Nations is leading an international endeavor to seek a political solution to the Syrian crisis, which has reportedly left more than 100,000 people dead since its outbreak in March 2011, but UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said Thursday that the date for the international conference on Syria had not been set yet.
The United Nations, Russia and the United States are trying to fix a date for the so-called Geneva II talks aimed at bringing all sides together to discuss a political solution to the conflict.
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group in exile, threw a monkey wrench into the planned talks on Sunday, saying that it won't attend the Geneva II peace conference unless there's a strict timetable for President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.
Striking a muscular tone at an Arab League foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo, SNC's Riyadh-backed president, Ahmad Jarba, said Sunday that his group would also not attend the conference if Iran is invited.