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Syrian delegation plane to Geneva II prevented from refueling in Athens

DAMASCUS, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- The plane of the Syrian delegation to the Geneva II peace conference was prevented from refueling at the airport of Athens, capital of Greece, the state- run SANA news agency reported Tuesday.

The plane's arrival to the Montreux, Switzerland, where the peace conference will start on Jan. 22, has been delayed for three hours, SANA said, adding that the delay also affected a scheduled meeting between the delegation and UN officials.

The attitude of the Athens authorities could not be immediately explained, but apparently mirrored the West's opposing attitude toward the Damascus administration, said the report.

The delegation's plane reportedly left Syria on Monday for the long-awaited peace conference, which is designed to bring together representatives of the Syrian government and opposition to the negotiating table.

The goal of the meeting is to achieve a political solution to the Syrian conflict through a comprehensive agreement on full implementation of the Geneva communique adopted by the Geneva I conference on Jan. 30, 2012.

The communique, endorsed by the UN Security Council, lays out key steps to end the violence in Syria. However, hurdles lie ahead for the conflict to end as the Syrian government wants the Geneva II to focus on combating terrorism while the opposition wants it to result in the formation of a transitional government where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad plays no role.

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