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UN envoy on Syria to visit Iran next week: Reports

Lakhdar Brahimi to visit Iran Saturday to pave way for 23 November international peace talks on Syria

AFP , Sunday 20 Oct 2013
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UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi will visit Tehran next week for talks to prepare for a proposed peace conference on Syria, Iranian state media reported on Sunday.

The official IRNA news agency reported that Brahimi would arrive in Iran on Saturday to "prepare the ground" for Syrian peace talks that could be held in Geneva next month.

Separately, Mehr news agency quoted Iran's deputy foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, as saying Brahimi would "travel to Tehran early next week and visit Iranian officials".

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Sunday the talks would be held on 23 November, but Brahimi, who was speaking at the same Cairo news conference, refused to set a date.

Brahimi is in Egypt on the first leg of a Middle East tour aimed at drumming up support for the peace initiative.

The veteran troubleshooter has said he would also travel to Qatar, Turkey, Iran, Syria and then Geneva for talks with Russian and US representatives.

The United States and Russia have been trying to organise the conference on the heels of a landmark deal they agreed for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons by mid-2014.

The so-called Geneva 2 conference was first announced last year, but it has been repeatedly postponed amid wrangling among the Syrian opposition, and a dispute over which countries, including Iran, should participate.

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