Skip to main content

Syria peace talks in Geneva postponed, says Lavrov

The UN could not confirm that the talks scheduled early next month had been postponed
Lavrov meets representatives of Syria's political opposition in Moscow on 27 January (AFP)

UN-hosted negotiations on the Syrian conflict planned for 8 February in Geneva have been postponed until the end of that month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

"The date of 8 February has been put back until the end of next month," Lavrov told a meeting with minor Syrian opposition representatives in Moscow to discuss peace talks in Kazakhstan that ended on Tuesday without a major breakthrough.

But the UN could not confirm that the Geneva peace talks have been postponed, a spokeswoman for UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura said Friday.

"There is no confirmation that the February talks are postponed," said Yara Sharif. "We're going to be sure when the special envoy is back" from talks next week with UN Secretary Antonio Guterres.

The main opposition groups stayed away from the Moscow meeting with Lavrov, as the Kremlin seeks to impose its influence as the key powerbroker in Syria on the back of its game-changing military support for leader Bashar al-Assad.

Representatives from armed opposition groups and Damascus were expected to hold their first face-to-face talks in Astana, but the rebels refused over government truce violations and mediators were forced to shuttle between the two sides.   

Key players Russia, Turkey and Iran backed the talks and the main result was an agreement by the three sides to try to shore up a shaky ceasefire on the ground in the war-torn country. 

The latest peace initiative to halt fighting that has killed over 310,000 people since 2011 comes after the Syrian government, with the help of Russian and Iranian firepower, dealt rebels a crushing blow by ousting the rebels from eastern Aleppo last month. 

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.