​Kerry, Lavrov to attend Lebanon talks on Syria

March 04, 2014 - 6:04:56 am

PARIS: The US and Russian foreign ministers will attend French-sponsored talks in Paris tomorrow on helping Lebanon cope with the conflict in Syria, but the talks look set to be overshadowed by the Ukraine crisis, France said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry was scheduled to come for the meeting of the International Support Group for Lebanon meeting but French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Russia’s Sergei Lavrov would also attend the conference.

Lavrov “will come here day after tomorrow as France is hosting a meeting on Lebanon,” Fabius told RTL radio.

“I am meeting him on that day, the day after and possibly” for a bilateral meeting ahead of the Lebanon talks in Paris, he said.

Fabius’s entourage said he and Lavrov would discuss the escalating Ukraine conflict on the sidelines of the Lebanon Group meeting.

Russia’s G8 partners have denounced Russia’s moves on Ex-Soviet Ukraine and have suspended preparations for the G8 summit in Sochi in June.

The support group for Lebanon was set up last year to help Beirut deal with the implications of the brutal war in Syria that began in March 2011. It is intended to provide financial, political and security support to the small nation.

Meanwhile, firefights and shelling on Sunday shattered a weeks-old truce at the Yarmuk Palestinian camp in Damascus, but a ceasefire allowed residents to return to another besieged area near Syria’s capital.

Syria’s three-year conflict is estimated to have killed more than 140,000 people, forced millions to flee the homes, and taken a brutal toll on children increasingly threatened by disease.