From May to August, the tentative dates suggested for Syria peace talks keep on slipping. Some Washington diplomats fear that the Geneva conference will never take place at all as sticking points between the US and Russia get stickier.
The decision to arm rebels has not gone down well with Russia. Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said they are committed to talks but that ‘other countries were complicating matters’.
As a precondition the opposition have said they will only come to the negotiating table if President Bashar al-Assad steps down. They also want to gain back ground lost in battle to negotiate from a point of strength. Lavrov said by arming the rebels “the West and other countries” support that precondition. He continued by saying that preconditions “contradict the very concept of the conference.”
Lavrov will meet his US counterpart John Kerry next week to discuss the conference. Both sides are keen to get a date set as the death toll creeps up to an estimated 100,000.
On the ground Syrian rebels have taken the strategic city of Deraa near the Jordanian border. Meanwhile in the Israeli occupied Golan Heights, the UN Security Council have agreed to renew their mission for another six months, after recent violence spilled over the border with Syria.