UN chief hopes US-Russia Syria talks will succeed

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is strongly welcoming U.S.-Russian talks which he hopes will lead to an agreement in the deeply divided U.N. Security Council to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons.

U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said Wednesday that Ban believes it is “crucially important” for council members to take action to prevent the use of chemical weapons and address the wider problem of solving the 2 ½-year Syrian conflict.

Haq announced that the U.N.-Arab League envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is traveling to Geneva to be available to discuss plans with the U.S. and Russian ministers for a new Geneva peace conference.

“It’s not a purely speculative trip,” Haq said. “It’s certainly possible that he’ll have those meetings, but there’s nothing that I can officially confirm at this stage.”

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