Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov believes that a Russia-U.S.-UN meeting, due to take place in Geneva on December 20, will be the last one as part of preparations for the Geneva II international conference on Syria.
"The Christmas holidays of our Western colleagues are nearing. The New Year holidays will then begin in Russia. It means that it is quite probable that we will hold the last preparatory meeting in such a format," Bogdanov told Interfax.
"On the other hand, should the need arise for us to meet once again at our level ahead of the conference itself, we will certainly be ready for that," he added.
On December 20, Geneva is expected to host both trilateral meetings between Russia, the United States and the United Nations, as well as consultations involving other the UN Security Council's members such as France, the United Kingdom and China, Bogdanov said.
"Apart from that, there will be a meeting with delegations from Syria's neighbor countries. I mean Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq," he said.
These meetings will be aimed at sorting out all of the issues that remain ahead of the Geneva II conference, the Russian diplomat said.
"Shortly afterwards, as we expect, [UN-Arab League peace envoy for Syria] Lakhdar Brahimi will receive the lists of two delegations - one from Syria's government and another from the opposition," Bogdanov said.
"[UN Secretary General] Ban Ki-moon will then forward official invitations to all the participants in the conference. Their text was already agreed upon between all the three participants in the preparatory meetings, after which our colleagues - Chinese, French and British - were able to familiarize themselves with this text," he said.
"We hope that at the end of the year or within the first few days of January UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will send out the official invitations to all those who will send their delegations to the conference - both Syrians and external players," he said.
Brahimi plans to visit the region, including Damascus, once again ahead of the conference, Bogdanov said.
"We expect that there he will meet with the members of the delegations representing both the government and the opposition. He will communicate with them personally, explore their sentiments and share some of his ideas. All this should be done before January 22," he said.
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