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Main problem is that Iran has no equal role in negotiations – Lavrov

August 18, 2012, 18:37 UTC+3

The main problem in the region is that Iran has no equal role to play in the negotiations

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MOSCOW, August 18 (Itar-Tass) —— The main problem in the region is that Iran has no equal role to play in the negotiations, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

For some countries, such as Israel, the Iranian nuclear programme “is one of the main problems”. “We are talking to our Israeli partners. I talked with my colleague Avigdor Lieberman by telephone the other day. We will never believe it that armed force can offer a reliable and lasting solution to the problem,” Lavrov told Sky News Arabia television in an interview, the text of which was posted on the Foreign Ministry’s official website on Saturday, August 18.

“The main problem in the region, in my opinion, is that Iran has no equal place at the negotiating table. True, Israel, the United States and many of the Persian Gulf countries have their complaints about Iran. But if these complaints are used to demand total isolation for Iran and to keep it away from events concerning security problems in the region, we will simply lose a lever with which to influence the situation. It is important for us that all those who influence events were inside the negotiation process, not in isolation,” the minister said.

When asked how Iran can be invited if it threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz just recently, Lavrov said he had doubts that “this will be followed by some serious action”.

“It was a decision of the parliament. Several days after it, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said that it was not a realistic position. So, I do not think that this will be followed by some serious action. This only proves one more time that one should try to avoid unnecessary confrontational rhetoric. In fact, the other side is threatening to bomb Iran away because there is no room for it among civilised countries. This is a spiral and a vicious circle of rhetoric that will do no good,” Lavrov said.

Speaking about relations between Russia and the Persian Gulf countries, he said the situation in Syria “is influencing them, but we have good relations with both individual countries in the region and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf”.

“The first ministerial meeting in this format took place in early November of last year. We started strategic dialogue. The second meeting should be held in Russia. We are now discussing the dates. We scheduled it for June, but the ministers’ schedules could not be harmonised. About two weeks ago I talked with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal and we agreed that we would find the way to hold such a meeting in Moscow some time this autumn. As for our disagreements on Syria, our goals largely coincide. The main goal is to have peace and calm in Syria so that the Syrian people lived well,” Lavrov said.


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