WorldViews: Location of Syrian peace talks bumped for luxury watch fair

By Max Fisher, December 17, 2013

If there's a more tragically accurate symbol of the world's priorities today, I haven't seen it:

The United Nations plans to precede its internationally brokered peace talks between Syria's warring sides next month with a one-day meeting of foreign ministers in the Swiss city of Montreux, officials said Tuesday.

A daylong gathering for speeches by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and more than two dozen other foreign ministers is planned for Jan. 22 at a Montreux hotel. It is to be overseen by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, with help from the Swiss government.

The session is taking place at the opposite end of Lake Geneva from the U.N. European headquarters because a luxury watch fair has taken up all the hotel rooms in Geneva for several days, Khawla Mattar, a spokeswoman for the U.N.-Arab League's special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, told reporters Tuesday.

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