Will Russia discuss Syria? It appears so.
Kofi Annan, international mediator, aims to arrange a meeting to discuss the Syrian conflict. U.S. officials say, "there are still hurdles to be overcome."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend a meeting on the escalating conflict in Syria that international mediator Kofi Annan is attempting to organize in Geneva this weekend, Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said on Tuesday.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Reaching a critical juncture in Syria
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"Sergei Lavrov has officially accepted the invitation to come to the actual meeting in Geneva on Saturday, June 30," Churkin told reporters ahead of a closed-door meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Syria. "We attach great importance to this meeting."
U.S. officials traveling with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who flew to Finland on Tuesday starting a three-nation tour that will see her meet with Lavrov on Friday in St. Petersburg, said no decision had yet been made on her attendance.
"The sticking point is a clear agreement that there needs to be political transition," one senior U.S. official told reporters on board Clinton's plane, repeating U.S. opposition to Annan's proposal that Iran be included in any such talks.
"We don't think Iran has been a constructive player on this issue," the official said. "Nothing has changed in that position."
Annan's deputy, Nasser al-Kidwa, was briefing the 15-nation council by video-link on Annan's attempts to prevent the total collapse of his moribund six-point peace plan.
Diplomats said it was not entirely clear that the meeting of the five permanent Security Council members and key regional players scheduled for Saturday will take place. Annan has said that Iran should attend, but diplomats say the United States, Saudi Arabia and others dislike that idea.