Hopes of a much-delayed international peace conference on Syria taking place later this month appear to be dashed.
The US and Russia had been trying to bring both warring sides to the table for talks known as Geneva II.
US, Russian and UN diplomats were meeting in Geneva on Tuesday to pave the way for the conference. However Russian news agency Itar-Tass is reporting a source at the meeting saying Geneva II has been postponed until December at the earliest.
One of the many stumbling blocks to negotiations is Russia’s insistence Iran be invited. The US and Syrian opposition are against this.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said no important power should be excluded:
“All those with influence on the situation must certainly be invited to the conference. This includes all Syria’s neighbours. This includes pretty much all countries of the Persian Gulf. This includes not only Arab countries but also Iran.”
This is not the only point of dispute. The Syrian opposition will only attend if President Assad steps down, a condition to which Damascus refuses to agree.
Right now the prospect of all sides and world powers sitting down together seems a distant one.