MOSCOW, February 22 (Itar-Tass) — A meeting of the Friends of Syria Group without Damascus officials will not help resolve the conflict in Syria, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
“Decisions to be made by the Friends of Syria Group in Tunisia without Syrian government officials will not lead to the settlement of the conflict there,” he said on Wednesday, February 22.
In his opinion, the main task in Syria now is “to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to those who need it, and Russia supports the appropriate efforts of the Red Cross”.
He said earlier in the day that it was a big mistake not to invite members of the Syrian government to attend the Friends of Syria Group meeting.
“Russia has been invited to take part in the meeting of the Friends of Syria to be held in Tunisia on February 24,” he said, but added that there are certain questions to be answered.
“We have noted that members of the Syrian government have not received an invitation to this event,” he said.
In his opinion, it would be wrong to discuss the Syrian issue without the key players. “We believe that the settlement requires the participation of the international community, particularly the U.N. and the Security Council, as well as key players. And this should be done on a mutually advantageous basis, without imposing decisions. This is the only way to achieve a viable solution,” Gatilov said.
He believes that another problem is another meeting in a narrow format with a number of Western and Arab countries before the scheduled Friends of Syria Group meeting. Its participants will draft a document that will then be submitted for approval in a broader format.
That is why “we decided it would be impossible for us to participate in this event and notified its organisers thereof”, Gatilov said.