Europe

Russia says Syria peace talks in Geneva pushed back

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, shakes hands with Syria's opposition members in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Lavrov said at the start of his Friday's meeting that the negotiations previously set for Feb. 8 have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on reasons behind the delay. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, shakes hands with Syria's opposition members in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Lavrov said at the start of his Friday's meeting that the negotiations previously set for Feb. 8 have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on reasons behind the delay. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a meeting with Syria's opposition members in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Lavrov said at the start of his Friday's meeting that the negotiations previously set for Feb. 8 have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on reasons behind the delay. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a meeting with Syria's opposition members in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Lavrov said at the start of his Friday's meeting that the negotiations previously set for Feb. 8 have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on reasons behind the delay. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

  • Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, third from left, attends a meeting with Syria's opposition members in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Lavrov said at the start of his Friday's meeting that the negotiations previously set for Feb. 8 have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on reasons behind the delay. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, third from left, attends a meeting with Syria's opposition members in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. Lavrov said at the start of his Friday's meeting that the negotiations previously set for Feb. 8 have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on reasons behind the delay. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)  (The Associated Press)

Russia's foreign minister says upcoming Syria peace talks in Geneva have been pushed back for late February.

Sergey Lavrov spoke at a meeting on Friday in Moscow with some opposition groups. Rebel factions fighting to oust President Bashar Assad had declined an invitation to the meeting.

Lavrov says U.N.-mediated Geneva talks, previously set for Feb. 8, have been postponed until the end of the month. He didn't elaborate on the reasons for the postponement.

Lavrov welcomed this week's Syria peace talks in Kazakhstan that brought rebel factions face-to-face with Assad's representatives for the first time in the six-year conflict.

He also said that Russia has floated a draft of a new Syrian constitution in a bid to encourage debate — not an attempt to enforce Moscow's will on the Syrians.