Syria peace talks to open in Montreux
The long-delayed “Geneva II” peace conference for Syria will open in the Swiss lakeside town of Montreux because of a lack of hotel space in Geneva, the United Nations said yesterday.
“The international conference on Syria… will be held due to logistical reasons… in Montreux,” said Khawal Mattar, spokeswoman for UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is trying to organise the conference.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month finally set January 22 as the date for the talks, which have been repeatedly postponed since June.
The conference centre at the Montreux Palace will only host the first day of high-level talks on January 22, hosted by Ban and including all invited country delegations.
Negotiations between the two Syrian delegations and Brahimi will then continue at the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva on January 24 but it has not been decided how long the talks will continue, Mattar said.
More than 126,000 people have been killed in the 33-month conflict pitting forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad against rebels fighting to topple his regime.
Around 2.4 million refugees have already fled, mainly to Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt.