A high-ranking Russian official has described Iran as an important regional player that can greatly contribute to the settlement of the Syrian conflict, voicing Moscow’s eagerness for Iran’s presence in the upcoming Geneva 2 conference on the ongoing crisis in Syria.
In an exclusive interview with the Interfax news agency on Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that Russia hopes to negotiate Iran’s participation in the international conference with the United States.
He added that Moscow foresees the Geneva 2 conference could be held only after September.
“It would hardly happen in September, because there will be other events, for instance, the UN General Assembly’s ministerial week,” Gatilov said.
The Russian diplomat also said that his country wants to convene the conference as soon as possible.
“But we have to take into account the real circumstances which could affect that forum,” he said, adding that Russian and US officials would meet in late August to discuss the details of preparation for the Geneva 2 conference.
On July 5, Gatilov said that Moscow believes that representatives of all Syrian parties, as well as neighboring countries and Iran, should attend the upcoming Geneva talks on the Syrian crisis.
On June 5, the Russian Foreign Ministry renewed Moscow’s call for Iran to be invited to the Geneva 2 talks.
“This is a matter of principle because the composition of the conference should be balanced,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.
Bogdanov acknowledged Washington’s opposition to inviting Iran to the peace conference but insisted that Iran’s absence in the Geneva 1 talks last summer “was a mistake and it should not be repeated.”
On May 28, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasized the necessity of Iran’s attendance at the upcoming talks in Geneva. “The issue of Iran is key for us. Iran, without question, is one of the most important nations,” he said.
Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011.
According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
Reports indicate that Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside the country.
By Press TV
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