Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said on Tuesday that a peace conference planned for July 2013 and aimed at ending the conflict would not happen anytime soon.
His comments came as negotiators from the United States and Russia were meeting in Geneva to discuss plans for the conference.
Mr. Brahimi told reporters that the Geneva II conference was unlikely to take place in July, as the opposition was still not ready for talks aimed at reaching an agreement with the Syrian regime on a transitional government.
“I mean, frankly now, I doubt whether the conference will take place in July”, Mr. Brahimi said.
A preparatory meeting on June 5 ended without agreement on a date for the conference and the participants, as it was unclear who the disunited Syrian opposition would send to negotiate with regime officials.
On Monday, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said they would not be going to Geneva “to hand over power”. He said in Damascus, “We will go to Geneva not to hand over power. We will go to Geneva to establish a real partnership and a national unity government that brings together all the Syrian people.” Syria’s main opposition coalition has said it will only participate if the international community agrees to ensure that President Bashar al-Assad steps down.
At the Geneva I conference in June 2012, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Arab countries had presented a plan for a political transition in Syria.
At the G8 summit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, earlier this month the bloc reiterated it wanted to see a democratic transition in Syria, but differences with Russia prevented any mention of Mr. al-Assad’s future role.
Meanwhile, Western and regional powers have said they will step up their military aid to the rebels.
But Mr. Brahimi spoke out against supplying weapons to either side in the civil war and warned that the violence could spread in the region.
The United Nations estimated that at least 93,000 people have been killed in the civil war.