Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the inter-Syrian meeting in Moscow aims at preparing for a new round of talks, taking into account the mistakes that were made in the Geneva conference in 2014.
At an annual press conference held for reviewing the Russian diplomatic work in 2014, Lavrov highlighted two mistakes that were committed in Geneva conference, with the first being having only one part of the opposition invited while other groups were ignored, while the second was the fact that the Montreaux opening of the conference took the form of grandstanding with representatives of 50 countries attending, which resulted in a multitude of positions and hindered reaching an agreement on a solution.
Two rounds of talks were held within UN-sponsored Geneva conference on Syria in 2014. The talks stalled and didn’t reach an agreement on a political solution to the crisis in the country, with the Coalition delegation of the so-called opposition refusing to accept to acknowledge that combating terrorism is the top priority, something which was proposed by the government’s delegation.
Lavrov said at the conference that what is needed is holding dialogue in a calm atmosphere with all sides being represented in order to reach a political solution, noting that the opposition members will have the chance to hold talks in a neutral place without any representation of other states.
It is important, Lavrov said, that the opposition figures understand that they have to live in Syria as a sovereign state with territorial integrity where all its social components are protected, and afterwards, they could meet unofficially with the government representatives, noting that if any new political equation could be reached, that would help the UN Special Envy for Syria Staffan de Mistura find a new formula for the process.
“There is full conviction in the West that a political solution to the crisis in Syria is inevitable,” Lavrov said, pointing out that the priority today is for fighting terrorism and combating ISIS, noting that Russia stressed the importance of eliminating terrorism a long time ago.
The Russian Foreign Minister reiterated that counterterrorism is vital for overcoming the crisis in Syria, pointing out that bombarding any sites of a sovereign state under the pretext of eliminating terrorist groups without the approval of the concerned states and the Security Council is illegal.
He added that counterterrorism should be implemented in accordance with international law, as the Security Council is the only body allowed to designate any group as a terrorist group.
Lavrov said that the discourse of some western powers who claim that cooperation with the Syrian government for counterterrorism is impossible is void; citing the example of the dismantling of chemical weapons which took place through cooperation with the Syrian government.
Rasha Milhem / Haifa Said / Hazem Sabbagh