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Brahimi sees Syria talks delay, appeals to big powers

International envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi attends a meeting with peace mediators in Losby Manor, outside Oslo, June 18, 2013. REUTERS/He
International envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi attends a meeting with peace mediators in Losby Manor, outside Oslo, June 18, 2013. REUTERS/He

GENEVA (Reuters) - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Tuesday that a conference on ending the war in Syria was unlikely to take place in July as he had hoped, and called on the United States and Russia to help contain the conflict.

Brahimi was speaking to reporters in Geneva before holding talks with senior U.S. and Russian officials. He said he expected these to be "constructive" but unlikely to resolve all questions linked to convening a conference on Syria's future.

"Frankly I doubt whether the conference will take place in July. The opposition has their next meeting on July 4-5. So I don't think they will be ready," Brahimi said.

"I very, very much hope that the governments in the region and the big powers - in particular the United States and Russia - that they will act to contain this situation that is getting out of hand, not only in Syria but also in the region."

Brahimi, Joint Special Representative of the United Nations and Arab League, voiced deep concern at the deadliest outbreak of violence in Lebanon since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011.

"Events in the city of Sidon in Lebanon yesterday, where over 50 people were killed, are a stern reminder to all of the risks of the conflict in Syria spreading across borders to neighboring countries," he said.

Brahimi held a previous round of preparatory talks with Russian and U.S. officials on June 5, after which he said he was hopeful the proposed Syria conference would take place in July.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Tom Miles; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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