Russia thinks that Iran’s participation in the Geneva-2 international peace conference on Syria could play a positive role and hopes that there will be a way to involve that state in the negotiating process, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told a news conference on Wednesday.
“We think it a mistake that Iran was not invited to the conference,” he said. “Very few think that that country must not take part in this political process. We hope that a way will be found to involve Iran in the constructive negotiations.”
However, he said it was too early to speak about the results of the Geneva-2 conference. “I must say that I am astonished to hear statements that the conference had brought about no results,” he noted. “It took eight months to prepare it. The parties finally met and theit negotiations lasted for just one week.”
“Indeed, not much has been achieved,” the Russian diplomat admitted. “The document the Syrian government delegation offered for consideration, regrettably, was turned down by the Syrian opposition delegation, which refused to even discuss it. We think it might be a mistake.”
Churkin reminded that at a recent news conference, Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations/League of Arab States Special Envoy on Syria, “pointed to a number of issues, on which, he believes, the parties have similar viewpoints.”
“To my mind, it is a good begging of talks,” he stressed. “The parties have also agreed a date for their next meeting – February 10. We hope they would come.”
“The leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), Ahmad al-Jarba, who had a four-hour meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, assured us of his serious commitment,” Churkin noted. “We hope it will be seen during the second round of talks.”
“The opposition admits that its delegation should be expanded and that other opposition groups should take part in the negotiations,” he added.
Apart from that, the Russian diplomat gave to understand that Russia was against the initiative advanced by a number of Western states to consider at the United Nations Security Council a resolution on ways to solve Syria’s humanitarian problems.
“The problem of the humanitarian situation in Syria should be tackled in a pragmatic manner,” he said, adding that the Western countries tended to politicize this problem.
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