An international conference aimed at ending Syria's civil war will be held in Geneva in late November, the head of the Arab League said Sunday, after weeks of diplomacy to bring the opposing sides to the negotiating table.
According to AP, league chief Nabil Elaraby said the Geneva conference, which the U.S. and Russia have been trying to convene for months, would be held on Nov. 23 and 24. The gathering aims to broker a political compromise to end the fighting in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people, devastated the nation's economy and forced some 2 million Syrians to seek refuge abroad.
Despite Elaraby's remarks at League headquarters in Cairo, it remains unclear whether the warring sides in the conflict are ready to sit down together. Even Elaraby, who spoke to reporters along with Arab League-U.N. envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, acknowledged that the proposed conference still faces "many difficulties."
The main Western-backed opposition umbrella group, the Syrian National Coalition, is scheduled to hold a meeting on Nov. 1 to decide whether or not to attend a Geneva conference. One of the most prominent factions within the Coalition, the Syrian National Council, has publicly opposed taking part in peace talks with the regime.
World powers are focusing on a political solution to the war in Syria after Washington dropped plans for U.S.-led strikes in response to a chemical attack in Damascus, which the U.S. blames on Syrian government forces.
Syrian officials have repeatedly said they are willing to take part in the Geneva peace talks, but not with any preconditions such as President Assad's resignation.
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