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Russian Official Says Syria Conference Not Possible In May


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (left) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

A Russian official says there are disagreements over who has the right to take part in Syria's peace process, suggesting this could hamper efforts to organize an international conference.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had announced on May 7 that Washington and Moscow would seek to organize a conference on Syria and expressed hope it could be held this month.

Western and Russian news agencies quote the unnamed official, who was present at the Kerry-Lavrov talks, as saying an international meeting "by the end of May is impossible."

Russia has opposed sanctions against Syria but has backed calls for the creation of a transitional government.

Meanwhile, officials in Moscow say Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on May 10 that Netanyahu and Putin would discuss Russia’s weapons sales to the Syrian government, including the sale of advanced S-300 antiaircraft missile systems.

The United Nations estimates that the two-year conflict in Syria has claimed the lives of at least 70,000 people.

Based on reporting by Reuters and ITAR-TASS
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