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Russia expects international conference on Syria to be productive - Churkin

June 26, 2012, 22:36 UTC+3

Russian Representative to the UN expressed the wish to see Iranian representatives at the conference together with members of the UN Security Council

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UNITED NATIONS, June 26 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia expects the Geneva conference on Syria to be productive, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Tuesday.

He also said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would attend the June 30 event.

“Invitations have been sent, and our minister [Lavrov] has accepted the invitation,” Churkin told reporters ahead of a new round of consultations of the UN Security Council on Syria. He expressed the assuredness that the meeting in Geneva would bolster the advancement towards the end of the conflict.

“We expect the forum to be productive. We also expect an intensive exchange of opinions between the foreign ministers of participating states, which will encourage the Syrian sides to stop violence and to begin a political dialog,” Churkin said.

The international community “should display the adherence” to the peace plan of Kofi Annan, he said.

Churkin admitted that the current situation in Syria is unsatisfactory and urged “more intensive international efforts for the political settlement of the conflict.”

“In this light, the Russian initiative of holding the international conference on Syria is very timely. The Geneva meeting fully complies with the Russian initiative,” Churkin said.

He expressed the wish to see Iranian representatives at the conference together with members of the UN Security Council, key members of the League of Arab States and other Syrian neighbors. “Iran and Saudi Arabia must be there because they are capable of influencing the [Syrian] situation,” he said.

The Russian representative expressed concern about reports claiming the deployment of militant training camps in Libya, Kosovo and some other places. The militants are trained and sent to Syria to oppose the authorities, he said. “Libya has plenty of its own problems; the return to the Qaddafi regime realities – export of revolutions – would be tragic irony of the history,” he said.

Russia, which initiated the forum, thinks the forum would be a natural supplement to the idea of UN/LAS Envoy Kofi Annan of establishing a contact group on Syria – five permanent members of the UN Security Council, countries bordering on Syria (Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey) and countries that have an influence on Syrian authorities and the opposition (Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia).

Annan said on June 22 that preparations for the conference had begun and called on countries, which had an influence on Syria, to escalate their efforts. He expressed hope that the Geneva conference could put an end to violence, lay down the foundation of a political interim period and to prevent the crisis from spreading into Syrian neighbors.

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