Big Story 15

Kerry says first Syria meeting in Geneva will be 'proximity talks', not face-to-face

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to members of the travelling media during the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland January 21, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

DAVOS (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that initial talks in Geneva involving the Syrian government and opposition groups would be “proximity talks”, not a face-to-face meeting of participants.

“The first meeting will be proximity talks ... you are not going to have a situation where they are sitting down at the table staring at each other or shouting at each other; you are going to have to build some process here, and that’s what will begin,” Kerry told reporters at a roundtable meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Kerry also said U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Steffan de Mistura would probably not send invitations out until Sunday.

“What will happen is, on Monday there will be some discussions (in Geneva), but I would say that by Tuesday and Wednesday, people will be able to get there. We just see this is as logistical ... we are just kind of lining pieces up here. We’ll see where we are.”

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Kevin Liffey