Daily Star Lebanon –  22.10.2013 – Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the same news conference that “everyone is now convinced that (a) political and peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis is the available option” for “the interest of the Syrian people”.

On Sunday Brahimi said, during a visit to Cairo, that he hoped the talks would be held next month, but warned they cannot go ahead without the attendance of a “credible opposition” to Assad. The veteran troubleshooter has said he will also travel to Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Syria and then Geneva for talks with Russian and US representatives. A pro-regime daily in Syria said he was expected this week in Damascus, where he came under heavy criticism from the regime for suggesting a transitional government after his last visit in 2012.

Opposition wary of talks with regime Washington and Moscow have been trying to organise the conference on the heels of a landmark deal they reached for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014.

But the opposition has been fiercely critical of the agreement — which averted US strikes on the regime following a sarin gas attack in August that killed hundreds of people — and at least one major faction, the Syrian National Council (SNC), has already refused to go to Geneva. The opposition has also demanded that Assad step down as part of any agreement, while the regime has insisted his exit is not on the table. The National Coalition umbrella opposition group, which includes the SNC, on Monday said it had postponed internal meetings to early November, as it weighs whether to attend the Geneva talks.

Originally set for this week, the group had aimed to discuss and reach a common position on the issue, but Tuesday’s conference in London of the Friends of Syria countries that support the rebellion prompted the postponement. Even if the Coalition attends the Geneva meeting, it is unclear whether it can enforce any agreement, after dozens of rebel brigades have in recent weeks rejected the umbrella group. The Geneva initiative was first announced last year, but it has been repeatedly postponed over opposition objections and a dispute over which countries, including Iran, should participate.

Read more: