PARIS: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius played down expectations Monday for next month's talks in Geneva on the Syrian conflict, saying he doubted they would mark a breakthrough.
The "Geneva 2" meeting is slated for January 22 and aims to bring together Syria's opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's regime to try to end the country's nearly three-year civil war.
"I believe that it will take place but... it is very difficult to imagine a quick positive outcome," Fabius told France Inter radio.
"The Geneva conference -- and I must say it's no surprise -- is taking place under very difficult conditions," Fabius said.
There is still no certainty the UN-backed talks, which seek to put in place a transitional government, will go ahead.
The main opposition National Coalition has said it will attend but some key anti-regime figures have refused and others have said no final decision has been made.
The opposition is insisting Assad play no role in Syria's future -- a demand strongly rejected by the regime.