Russia wants Iran, Saudi Arabia presence in Syria talks

The peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva II, opened in Montreux, Switzerland, on January 22, 2014.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov says Moscow seeks the involvement of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey as well as other states in the Syrian reconciliation talks.

Speaking in an interview with RIA Novosti on Monday, the Russian diplomat added that “an idea to create a parallel track” to the Geneva peace talks has been expressed with the purpose of enhancing dialog between the Syrian government and the opposition.

“It is an auxiliary course [of negotiations], not an alternative [to the Geneva reconciliation process]. In the past, we discussed engaging countries that might have a positive influence on Syrians: Russia and the United States, as the co-initiators of the Geneva-2 talks, add Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, maybe Qatar, and bring in the United Nations. We still suggest discussing this idea,” Bogdanov said.

The Russian official also expressed his country’s preparedness to examine other similar proposals.

He emphasized that the full potential of Geneva 2 international conference on the ongoing crisis in Syria has not yet been achieved.

“Two rounds [of the talks] in fact lasted for only three weeks, it’s a very short time, especially since there was another problem – the [Syrian] opposition delegation was not representative enough,” Bogdanov added.

The long-awaited Geneva 2 conference kicked off in Switzerland on January 22 as the most serious effort to end the crisis in the Middle Eastern country.

On January 19, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Islamic Republic had been invited to the peace conference on Syria, but he later retracted the invitation.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since March 2011. Over 160,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by the Western-backed militants.

By Press TV


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