Syria peace talks clouded by Paris attacks

Representatives of some 20 countries gather in Vienna for third round of talks on Syrian crisis, as top agenda becomes fighting DAESH after it claimed responsibility for several shootings and suicide bomb attacks in Paris

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (centre R), US Secretary of State John Kerry (C) and foreign ministers from Turkey, Iran, Russia and other countries gather for Syrian peace talks in Vienna, Austria on November 14, 2015

Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris, which DAESH terrorists have claimed responsibility for, have shadowed the Syrian peace talks in Vienna, as France says the focus of the meeting should be the battlefield rather than discussing the political process.

International bodies and foreign ministers of some 20 countries have gathered in the Austrian capital on Saturday for a third round of talks after two weeks, to agree on a solution to end the four-year-old conflict in Syria.

"One of the objectives of the Vienna meeting is to see concretely how we can strengthen the international coordination in the fight against DAESH," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters, ahead of the main meeting in Vienna.

DAESH terrorist organisation which controls parts of Iraq and Syria had claimed the multiple shootings and suicide bomb attacks in Paris that has left at least 129 people dead, and injured more than 300 others, in what French President Francois Hollande describes as an “act of war.”

Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that the tragedy will impact the agenda of the meeting in Vienna.

"Those events which happened not far from here will absolutely cause adjustments in the agenda of today's event," she told reporters.

EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said that the attacks have added “another kind of meaning” to the talks in Austria.

"The countries sitting around the table have almost all experienced the same pain, the same terror," Mogherini said, referring to the recent Russian airliner crash in Egypt as well as the suicide bombings in Beirut and Turkey.

During the last Syria talks on October 30, foreign ministers and senior officials from the United States, Turkey, Russia and more than a dozen other countries – including regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran – called on the UN to broker a peace deal between the regime and opposition to open way for a new constitution and elections.

Tehran and Moscow are both essential in their support for Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad's government, while Turkey, the United States, Saudi Arabia and their Western and Gulf allies are against the Syrian regime. However, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Friday that Western powers "recognise that if there will be a transition he may play a part, up to a point, in that transition."

TRTWorld and agencies