A large number of preemptive statements by rebel factions indicate they want preconditions on their participation.
While US officials had previously indicated they preferred a brief delay on next week’s Syrian peace talks in Geneva, Russian diplomats say the plan is to continue the talks even if none of the rebel factions agree to attend.
That seems almost certain to be the case, as there were no indications anyone’s been formally invited, and the UN has put all invitations on hold in the face of a large number of preemptive statements by factions issuing conditions on their participation.
Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to concede that the talks are happening, but also sought to downplay hopes of anything much happening, saying that the first round of talks isn’t going to involve any meetings, and all contact will be done through intermediaries.
Kerry said the expectation is for the UN to start sending out invitations Sunday, literally the day before the talks were supposed to begin, and that a lot of the delegates probably won’t arrive until Tuesday or Wednesday.