Geneva-2: participants agree Iran must be involved - Lavrov

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Geneva-2: participants agree Iran must be involved - Lavrov
Published 22-01-2014, 15:43
Overall, Moscow is content with the first day of peace talks in Montreux, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Indeed, it is the first time in three years of Syrian conflict that both sides of Syrian crisis came together at negotiating table. The majority of players at the conference believe that Iran should be involved in negotiating process, said Lavrov after the first day of talks.

"I talked to most of the participants of the conference and have not heard from any of them that the current format is ideal. Many have voiced their concern that Iran is playing a very important role in this political process and we must find a way to involve Tehran in Syria-talks”, said Lavrov.

Russian Foreign Minister also added that he hasn’t yet heard an exhaustive explanation concerning the non-participation of Iran from his UN colleagues.

According to Lavrov, Geneva-2 format can be readily expanded.

"From all I heard from my colleagues, there is a great need to bring in new players into negotiation process and act in accord with Geneva communique," said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry in Montreux.

"The beginning was very difficult, it was a complicated process”, said Lavrov. "But the fact that we managed to hold the inaugural meeting of Geneva-2 is already a big progress”.

It was also agreed during the meeting that the High Representatives of Russia, the US and the UN will develop a plan for the exchange of prisoners of war between the Syrian government and the opposition forces. The exchange is expected to help build trust between the two parties to the conflict, said Lavrov.

"Together with our American colleagues and the UN personnel we will work out the details of such move. As you know, on the practical level we have to agree on the lists of prisoners from both sides”, said Lavrov.

The first day of the Geneva-2 international conference on Syria did not produce any sensations, nobody hoped for achieving any understandings so soon, Sergei Lavrov has said.

"I believe that the conference was held as expected. Nobody hoped that any outline of an understanding, to say nothing of an understanding itself could be reached at this first ceremonial stage," he said to journalists after the first day of the conference.

"Predictably the sides came up with quite emotional statements, mutual accusations were made and I will repeat that it was expected because the conflict had built up for three years and the first contact between the government and one of the opposition groups that enjoys broad support from a whole number of foreign players could not be cloudless," Lavrov stressed.

Russia content its understanding of Syria peace deal becomes widely accepted - Lavrov

Moscow is gratified by the fact of Geneva-2 participants’ growing appreciation of Russian stand on Syria peace deal which is based on the preservation of Syrian identity and a deep respect of the fundamental principles of international law, Lavrov stated.

According to the minister, it would be a significant signal to the world community if in the early stages of negotiation process the parties can work together toward the creation of "multi-confessional and simultaneously secular Syria”.

Indeed, this will provide a basis for a comprehensive settlement of Syrian conflict.

"We have supported and continue to support all the groups that work inside Syria, including the National Coordination Committee, the National Front for the Liberation, and Kurdish organizations”, Lavrov stated.

The first round of direct talks between the Syrian government and opposition delegations at the Geneva-2 international conference on Syria will last for about a week, then the negotiating process will resume after a break, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.

"The talks will begin on Friday, January 24, in Geneva. They will last for about a week," he said to journalists after the first day of Geneva-2.

"It will be the first round which will apparently be followed a short break but another round will follow. At least everyone spoke of that, including UN representatives who will coordinate the direct Syrian talks," Lavrov said.

Russia's Lavrov warns outsiders against disrupting Syria peace talks

Moscow hopes all external players involved in the Syrian conflict will refrain from attempts to predetermine the outcome of the Geneva-2, as well as any steps capable of disrupting the talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We hope that all external players will encourage Syrians to reach an accord, to refrain - and to prevent the sides - from attempts to predetermine final agreements, from other steps capable of disrupting the negotiating process," he said at the opening of the Geneva-2 international conference on Syria.

Russia stands for involving Iran in the implementation of the Geneva communique and opposes attempts to interpret that document.

"It is necessary to engage Iran in the common efforts towards the fulfillment of the Geneva communique devoid of attempts to interpret it either way," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said .

"The essence of this document is that issues related to the future of Syria must be resolved by the consent of the government and the opposition," he said.

The humanitarian aid for Syria should not be a pretext for undermining the political dialogue, Lavrov said.

"Obviously, the humanitarian aid, just like the other aspects of the situation in Syria, must not become a subject of speculation and be used for putting forward artificial demands and undermining the political dialogue," Lavrov said at the Geneva-2 conference opening.

"I'd like to express my gratitude to the parties that convened for Geneva-2. Our common task is to end the suffering in Syria," Russian FM added.

"We are convinced that the transformation is going to be effective if it is purely political, without the use of force. I call upon all the players to abide the international law. There can be no solution found through the use of force, dialogue is the only way," Sergei Lavrov said.

Brahimi to meet two Syrian sides on Thursday

UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that he will meet both Syrian delegations separately on Thursday, a day ahead of their first negotiations when he will try to bring them into the same room.

Brahimi, speaking to a news conference after all-day ministerial talks in the Swiss resort of Montreux, first said it was not clear whether he would be able to bring two sides into the same room at the United Nations in Geneva on Friday.

"We will try to see if we meet Friday morning separately and hopefully by Friday afternoon both sides will sit in one room," he said later.

Describing the challenge ahead, Brahimi said: "We have no illusion that it is going to be easy but we are going to try very hard."


Voice of Russia

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