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UN: Decision Looms on Site for Destruction of Syrian Weapons Stockpile

The United Nations diplomat charged with coordinating the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons says she expects to know later this month where the weapons stockpile will be destroyed.

Dutch envoy Sigrid Kaag, speaking Tuesday in New York, said talks in The Hague this week involving Syrian authorities and envoys from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will determine where the actual demolitions will take place. She said she expects a decision by November 15.

In Geneva, meanwhile, U.N.-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters he hopes peace talks between the Syrian government and rebels seeking to overthrow it will take place before the end of this year.

Brahimi earlier voiced hopes of bringing Damascus delegates and opposition groups together in Geneva for talks later this month. But Tuesday he said progress toward that goal has been slowed by the inability of opposition factions to form a credible delegation for the negotiations.



Brahimi's claim of disarray among rebel factions was underscored earlier this week, when a top rebel leader of the U.S.-back Free Syrian Army resigned to protest infighting among rebel groups at war with the Syrian government.

Earlier Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he expects Damascus to participate in peace talks. His remarks came despite comments from government officials who say negotiations can not take place if they require President Bashar al-Assad to first step down, as demanded by rebels.

The 31-month Syrian rebellion started with the so-called Arab Spring protests in early 2011 that spiraled into civil war. More than 120,000 people have been killed in the uprising and millions more have been displaced.

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