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FRIDAY, 18 APR 2014
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France's Fabius doubts breakthrough at Syria talks
Agence France Presse
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius attends a news conference in Paris after a meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers of African nations as part of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa, December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius attends a news conference in Paris after a meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers of African nations as part of the Elysee Summit for Peace and Security in Africa, December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen
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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.

 
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