WASHINGTON The United States expects meetings planned for this month to bring together warring parties in Syria to go forward despite a flare-up in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran triggered by the execution of a Shi'ite cleric in the kingdom, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.
"We still hope and expect that meetings between opposition groups and regime can happen this month," State Department spokesman John Kirby said at a briefing when asked about the effect of the Iran-Saudi tensions on the efforts to bring an end to the nearly 5-year-old conflict in Syria.
The United Nations said last month it aimed to bring together the warring parties on Jan. 25 in Geneva to begin talks aimed at ending the Syrian war that has killed an estimated 250,000 people.
The United States wants Iran and Saudi Arabia to resolve tensions bilaterally, Kirby said, adding: "We're not in the market for a mediator."
(Reporting by Arshad Mohammaed and Lesley Wroughton; Writing by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by David Alexander)
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