Russia expressed doubt on Tuesday that Western nations can persuade Syrian opposition representatives to take part in an international peace conference in time for it to take place in mid-November.
The doubts of Damascus's most important ally followed remarks in which the international envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said the target date of mid-November was "not 100 percent certain" and cited disunity among rebel forces.
"Until recently we hoped our Western partners, who undertook to bring the opposition to the conference, could do it quite quickly, but they were unable to do it quickly, and I don't know whether they will be able to do so by mid-November," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
A pledge by the Syrian government to abandon chemical arms has increased prospects for the peace conference, proposed by Russia and the United States in May, to go ahead.
U.N. Security Council powers hope it can be held in mid-November. Lavrov said it must be organized soon since "radicals and jihadists are strengthening their positions" in Syria.
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