France Renews Precondition for Syria Conference

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A French foreign ministry spokesman said the upcoming Geneva 2 peace conference on Syria will only include those who have endorsed the idea of a transitional government in the crisis-hit country.

France Renews Precondition for Syria Conference

“To be part of Geneva II meeting, one needs to be invited by (the) UN and to accept forming a transitional government for Syria,” French deputy foreign ministry spokesman, Vincent Floreani, told the Tasnim News Agency in a conversation on Twitter, on Sunday.

He also noted that the so-called “Friends of Syria” meeting has opened in Paris today, with representatives of 11 countries in attendance.

Those countries -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt and Jordan – are seemingly trying to mount pressure on the president of Syria’s main opposition National Coalition, Ahmed Jarba, to persuade the opposition to join the UN-led talks, which are set to open in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22.

According to Floreani, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry are also scheduled to meet in Paris on January 13, in the run-up to the long-awaited Geneva 2 conference on Syria.

Geneva 2 is the second sequel of Geneva 1 conference held in June 2012 in which international parties laid out a peace plan for Syria that calls for a transitional governing body. It left open the question of whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

The conference would bring representatives from Syria's government and elements of the opposition to negotiate an end to the fighting that has raged on since March 2011.

The final communiqué issued on 30 June 2012, following the meeting of the so-called Action Group for Syria called for an immediate cessation of violence and the establishment of a transitional government that could include officials serving under President Bashar al-Assad and members of the opposition.

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