, LONDON, Oct 19 – Britain will host an international conference on the Syrian conflict next Tuesday to prepare the way for a planned peace meeting in Geneva, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Friday.
The conference in London will bring together representatives of the Syrian opposition and the foreign ministers of the so-called London 11, the core group of the Friends of Syria, including the United States, France and Saudi Arabia.
Hague said the nations would “discuss preparations for the Geneva Conference, support for the (opposition) Syrian National Coalition, and our efforts to achieve a political settlement to this tragic conflict”.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said this week it was “urgent” to set a date for the so-called Geneva 2 meeting, but that peace was impossible while President Bashar al-Assad remained in power.
Representatives of the leadership of the National Coalition will attend the London meeting.
The “London 11” consists of Britain, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Syria’s close ally Russia, which helped to avert US-led military action against the Assad regime by brokering a deal to dispose of its chemical weapons, is not attending the London talks.