Over 30 Countries Invited to Geneva 2 Conference on Syria

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran and Saudi Arabia are among more than 30 countries slated to attend a peace conference on Syria next month, diplomats said.

Over 30 Countries Invited to Geneva 2 Conference on Syria

The so-called Geneva 2 conference is aimed at mapping out a political solution to end nearly three years of fighting that has killed more than 120,000 people and displaced millions, Middle East Online reported.

But the January 22 meeting will actually be held at the lakeside Swiss city of Montreux because of a shortage of hotel rooms in Geneva, which will be hosting a luxury watch fair, a Western diplomat said.

"At the moment there are 32 countries invited, but that number may increase because everyone wants to come," an Arab diplomat said.

"In addition to the five permanent members of the Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China), there are the neighboring countries, as well as Saudi Arabia and Iran, and also Germany and Italy and others."

Most countries will be represented by their top diplomats and "each minister can speak for five minutes," the Arab diplomat said. Afterwards, many of the foreign ministers will attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, which runs from January 22 to 25.

The Syrian government and the opposition will each send delegations to the meeting, and will hold bilateral talks hosted by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on January 24 in Geneva.

"Each delegation will be composed of nine members and both the regime and the opposition should present their lists to the UN by December 27, but it is not certain they will respect this date," the Arab diplomat said.

Composing the list could prove a daunting task for Syria's opposition, which is riddled with internal divisions and increasingly at odds with powerful rebel groups fighting on the ground, many of which have rejected the conference.

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