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Syria’s opposition continues to reject participation in peace conference

October 15, 2013, 16:24 UTC+3

Russia may assist OPCW if such a request is made

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Potchuev

MOSCOW, October 15 (Itar-Tass) - Preparations for an international peace conference on Syria are underway, but some opposition groups in Syria still refuse to participate, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters on Tuesday.

He recalled that the UN Security Council’s resolution stated that the conference could be convened in mid-November. “All of us are now working in this direction,” Gatilov said.

“The UN Secretary-General’s envoy will soon start a tour of countries in the region to meet representatives of the opposition. He will have talks in Damascus, too,” he said, adding that the talks would focus on an international peace conference.

The diplomat drew attention to the fact that the Syrian authorities expressed their readiness to take part in the conference long ago. “Regrettably, some opposition groups announce their refusal to participate in the conference,” he said.

Russia is prepared to increase the number of specialists for the chemical weapons in Syria, if the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) demands this, Gatilov added.

“Two people or a little bit more of them are in the advanced group” of the chemical weapons specialists, he said. “Meanwhile, we have put forth our proposals, if the OPCW demands an additional number of specialists, we will provide our experts to the organization,” the minister added.

Russia has sent the list of Russian inspectors in the group for the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria, spokesman of the Russian Foreign Ministry Aleksander Lukashevich said earlier. “Russia is prepared to give aid to the OPCW technical secretariat, we have submitted to the OPCW general director the list of 13 Russian experts, who are prepared to participate in the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

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