Russia wants US clarity over Geneva conference on Syria

Mosow, June 27 (IANS) Moscow expects the Washington to clarify its position on the international conference on Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

"We expect more clarity from the meeting with (US Secretary of State) John Kerry about the US position regarding the joint Russia-US initiative to convene an international conference on Syria," reported Xinhua citing Lavrov as telling reporters.

Lavrov and Kerry plan to meet on the sidelines of the East Asian Summit to be held in Brunei July 1-2.

"The Syrian leadership has confirmed its readiness to send a delegation to the conference in Geneva without any preconditions, whereas the opposition is divided. The National Coalition of Syria supported by our western partners refuses to attend the conference until (Syrian president) Bashar al-Assad steps down," Lavrov said, calling the situation "regrettable".

Lavrov said he expected Kerry would clarify Washington's position about the principles the conference must follow. "We rely on the efforts of our western partners, the US in the first, to persuade the opposition to agree (to attend the conference)," Lavrov said.

On Tuesday, a preparatory tripartite meeting between Russian, US and UN representative took place in Geneva.

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