GENEVA — A ministerial meeting of world powers aimed at salvaging international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan on the Syria crisis will go ahead today in Geneva, the former UN chief’s spokesman said.
“Discussions will continue tomorrow at ministerial level,” Ahmad Fawzi said at the end of preparatory talks.
Diplomats had thrown the meeting in doubt due to disagreements on proposals on a political transition in Syria, with western governments warning that there was no point in meeting unless there was prior agreement on the points tabled by Annan.
Russia, the last major ally of Assad, has objected to a proposal that could limit membership of a transitional unity government in Syria, diplomats had said.
Annan’s plan, said the interim government could include Assad officials and the opposition “but would exclude . . . those whose continued presence and participation
would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardise stability and reconciliation.”
Diplomats have said this means Assad could be ruled out of the government but did not automatically exclude his participation. Opposition figures could also be kept out under the same formula, they stressed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted on Thursday that Assad’s fate “must be decided within the framework of a Syrian dialogue by the Syrian people themselves.”
Saturday’s conference is due to be attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the foreign ministers of Russia, Britain, China, France, Iraq, Qatar, Turkey and Kuwait. — AFP.