Syria Peace Conference Called for in November

Both countries urge a UN conference to seek the formation of a transitional government in the war-torn country.

Adam Ross ,

Bombed-out buildings in Raqqa, northern Syria
Bombed-out buildings in Raqqa, northern Syria

The US and Russia have called for a peace conference next month to resolve the ongoing fighting Syria.

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said they wanted the United Nations to organize the conference in the second week of November.

The pair met at the Asia-Pacific summit, taking place in Bali, Indonesia, where they had agreed on the creation of nuclear risk reduction centers in Washington and Moscow. 

“We will urge a date to be set as soon as possible,” Kerry told reporters - at a joint news conference his Russian counterpart.

Over 110,000 people have been killed during over two years of intractable fighting between the regime of Bashar Al Assad and rebels. Assad himself has previously said that "neither side can overcome the other," and is apparently warming to the idea of an international resolution to his country's crisis.

The talks would be called Geneva II, and would follow on from failed talks held in July 2012 in the Swiss city calling for the establishment of transitional government in Syria.

Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -  the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - are expected to be involved in the talks Syria, and are open to other key countries taking part as well.

Kerry and Lavrov worked closely together to produce an agreement on Syria's chemical weapon disarmament.  Weapons experts have already begun the work of confiscating Syria's estimated 1,000 tons of poisonous gases and crude materials.

The Security Council stated last month its firm belief that the Syrian military was behind a sarin gas attack on a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds of civilians.

Kerry had encouraging words for the start to the disarmament process, telling the press conference he was "pleased" with the start it had made. 20 inspectors arrived last week to enforce the country's commitment to the destruction of its chemical weapons arsenal.

According to the UN Security Council resolution, passed on September 27, Syria’s chemical weapons mixing and production facilities must be dismantled by November 1, with the regime’s chemical arsenal destroyed by mid-2014.