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Geneva II conference may be convened in October - Lavrov

September 14, 2013, 23:50 UTC+3
He stressed that there was no alternative to a political settlement in Syria
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Photo  EPA/NABIL MOUNZER

Photo EPA/NABIL MOUNZER

GENEVA, September 14 (Itar-Tass) - A peace conference on Syria, commonly known as Geneva II, may be convened in October, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday, September 14.

This week, Lavrov held talks in Geneva with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, to discuss a plan for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and the convocation of the peace conference.

“We had talks with Lakhdar Brahimi, where we discussed the way we can, as soon as possible, to move from the deadlock these negotiations the way that the Government of Syria is doing. We’ve done and we’ve said it, and the opposition will, without any reservations, should participate without any preliminary intentions to participate in the Geneva Conference according to the communique of 2012,” Lavrov said.

“Russia wanted to make it in September, or even earlier. Probably the day will be in October. But the most important thing is that all parties are present on this conference, not with some special reservations, special conditions, but the way that the Syrians should decide their fate by their own - only on that important objective,” he said.

“We should, against all the odds, seek the earliest convocation of the Geneva II conference in accordance with the Russian-U.S. initiative adopted on May 7 of this year,” Lavrov said earlier.

“We need to do everything to move towards realization of the assigned goals: the unification of efforts of the Syrian government and opposition to eradicate terrorism and oust terrorists from Syria,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The government and opposition should reach an agreement in principle on how a transition period should take place in Syria. It should be based on common accord between the government and the opposition,” Lavrov said.

He stressed that there was no alternative to a political settlement in Syria.

Brahimi said he was hopeful that the talks on an international conference on Syria could resume after Russia and the United States had come to agreement on Syrian chemical weapons.

He met with Kerry and Lavrov in Geneva to discuss the preparation of the Geneva II conference on Syria.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the international community to continue efforts to convene an international conference on Syria, known as Geneva II, amid speculation about a possible military operation against that country.

“It is important that we continue to pursue, to convene a Geneva conference as soon as possible. This political resolution, political solution, is the only viable option at this time,” Ban said on September 9.

He said “there remains an urgent need for the international conference in Geneva and a cessation of hostilities” because “the Syrian people need peace.”

“This political ... solution, is the only viable option at this time,” Ban said and vowed that he and Brahimi, would “continue to work very closely together with the United States and Russia, who were the original initiators of this.”

“While the world is focused on concerns about the possible use of chemical weapons in Syria we must push even harder for the International Conference on Syria to take place in Geneva. A political solution is the only way to end the bloodshed in Syria,” the U.N. Secretary-General said.

As the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Brahimi has consistently called on the U.S. and Russia to exercise leadership and work together to initiate a process to implement the Geneva Declaration of June 30, 2012.

At their talks in Moscow on May 7, Lavrov and Kerry agreed to hold an international conference on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, in order to try to overcome the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov and Kerry said that their countries would encourage both the Syrian government and opposition groups to look for a political solution.

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