Russia, U.S. diplomats to meet next week in trying to organize Syria forum

Russia's Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department are due to hold a deputy minister-level meeting in The Hague next week as part of the organization of an international conference on Syria, Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax on Monday.

Russia's Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department are due to hold a deputy minister-level meeting in The Hague next week as part of the organization of an international conference on Syria, Russia Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told Interfax on Monday.

In an interview with Interfax last week, Gatilov said the meeting would most likely bring together him, Mikhail Bogdanov, who is another Russian deputy foreign minister, U.S. Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, and U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford.

Asked in that interview why Syria hadn't been invited to the planned Russian-American meeting, Gatilov said: "The aim of this meeting is to bilaterally compare our positions on organizing the conference. We'll discuss an entire range of issues relating to it."

"We hope that we'll be able to agree on who would take part [in the Syria conference]. It is our active stance that Iran must take part in the conference. We are sticking to this position," Gatilov said.

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