MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian, U.S. and U.N. officials will meet next week to prepare for a proposed peace conference in June between warring sides in Syria, U.N. and U.S. officials said on Thursday.
“We can confirm that on 5 June 2013 in Geneva, US, Russian and UN officials will hold a three-way meeting to further the preparations for the international conference on Syria envisioned under the U.S.-Russian initiative,” a U.N. spokeswoman said in a statement.
The meeting was agreed to in talks last week between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The meeting will include U.S. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones, United Nations-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and U.N. Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.
State-run news agency RIA said Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov would also take part.
Lavrov and Kerry said on May 7 they would try to bring Syrian government and opposition representatives together as soon as possible for talks aimed at ending the 26-month-old Syrian conflict that has killed an estimated 80,000 people. No date has been set for the conference.
Lavrov accused the opposition Syrian National Coalition of undermining peace efforts after it said on Wednesday it would take part in the conference only if a deadline was set for a settlement that would force Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.
Reporting by Alissa de Carbonnel in Moscow, Lesley Wroughton in Washington and Tom Miles in Geneva; Editing by Eric Beech