Russia, UN downplay Syria talks

February 02, 2013 - 2:14:56 am

A  Free Syrian Army fighter fires his rifle during clashes in the Haresta neighbourhood of Damascus, yesterday. 

MOSCOW: Moscow and the United Nations played down reports that Syria’s opposition leader would hold a joint meeting with the UN Syria envoy and officials from the US and Russia at a security conference in Munich today.

Syrian opposition sources said yesterday that Syrian National Coalition President Moaz Alkhatib would meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Vice President Joe Biden and UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi at a security conference in the German city.

But a UN official and a senior Russian diplomat said there no plans for them all to meet together. “The UN special envoy is not involved in any trilateral meetings,” a UN official said in Munich, adding that Brahimi planned separate meetings with Biden, Alkhatib and Lavrov.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Lavrov was not scheduled to take part in expanded talks.

“Media reports of a meeting in Munich in the format of Lavrov-Biden-Brahimi and Syrian opposition representative Alkhatib do not correspond with reality,” he said.