6 Nov 2013

Date delayed for peace conference on Syria

5:25 pm on 6 November 2013

A day of intense diplomacy has failed to set a date for a long-awaited peace conference on Syria.

The United Nations-Arab League envoy on Syria has said that a peace conference he hoped to hold in Geneva later in November has been delayed but he is still "striving" for a summit by the end of this year.

Lakhdar Brahimi said after a day of meetings with senior diplomats on Tuesday he was not able to announce a date. Attempts to set up a conference have been going on for months amid disputes over who should attend and its agenda, the BBC reports.

Mr Brahimi said he would meet American and Russian diplomats again on 25 November.

The envoy added that "nothing dramatic" had happened at the talks and the failure to agree a date had been expected for several weeks.

Mr Brahimi held talks with US Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian deputy foreign ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov, then later with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council - the United Kingdom, France and China - as well as Syria's neighbours Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.

The idea of a conference was first put forward in May, and in September UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced a tentative date of mid-November after the Security Council passed a binding resolution on Syrian chemical weapons.

Mr Brahimi said Mr Ban continued to be "impatient" to have a conference, saying that the situation was getting worse with 6000 people leaving the country every day.