Newspaper blames U.S. failure to sway Syria opposition for Geneva II delay
The Geneva II international conference on Syria has been rescheduled once again due to the Syrian opposition's reluctance to reach agreements, Russia's Kommersant newspaper said on Thursday.
The end of November or even December is now being discussed as a possible date for the conference instead of the middle of November previously announced by Russian and U.S. representatives, the newspaper said.
The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) has refused to attend this conference, Kommersant said.
"The United States was put in charge persuading all influential Syrian opposition groups to take part in these peace negotiations. Following SNC's decision, Russian diplomats did not hesitate to reproach their American colleagues for acting ineffectively," the newspaper said.
Russia's responsibility was to persuade President Bashar al-Assad's government to participate in the Geneva II conference, it said.
"The Foreign Ministry says that it fulfilled this task, and that representatives of the Syrian authorities are ready to go to Geneva "even tomorrow"," the newspaper said.
Moscow still hopes that the conference will take place despite the continuing delays.
A Russian Foreign Ministry source told Kommersant that it "should be called as soon as possible."
The newspaper also said that efforts to destroy Syria's chemical weapons had encountered certain difficulties.
Experts of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) who arrived in Syria concluded that it would be impossible to destroy all of the toxic agents stored on Syrian territory, the source said.
The inspectors have already examined 11 chemical weapons facilities from the Syrian government's list naming 20 such sites.
"The Syrian authorities have already given their consent for the transport of part of their chemical weapons arsenal abroad for disposal," the source said.
Russia earlier refused to destroy Syrian chemical weapons on its territory, the newspaper said.
The United States is now looking for countries that would be prepared to store and destroy Syria's chemical weapons on their territory, Kommersant said.