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Senior Russian MP says work towards convening Syria peace conference to go ahead

November 06, 2013, 16:17 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara

MOSCOW, November 6 (Itar-Tass) - A failure to appoint a date for the beginning of Geneva-2 conference on peace settlements in Syria does not mean that the work to organize the forum has stopped forever, Mikhail Margelov, the chairman of foreign policy committee in the upper house of Russian parliament told Itar-Tass Wednesday.

“On the background of a war, any initiative on appeasement of the sides requires strenuous diplomatic efforts, especially if that war is a civil one,” Margelov said.

The persistence, which the Syrian opposition demands President Bashar Assad’s mandatory resignation with, stirs recall of the intransigence of the opponents of Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi, Margelov said.

While drawing an analogy between the conflict in Libya and the war in Syria, he recalled his own experience with “quite a knotty job of alternating between Benghazi and Tripoli at the peak of developments in Libya.”

“The opposition seated in Benghazi -- a highly variegated assortment of people -- would tell me then, OK, but Gaddafi should go first and we’ll join the talks only after he steps down,” Margelov said. “I won’t go into details on all the obstacles to the political process in Libya at that time. They are fairly well known now but the ultimatum demanding Gaddafi’s unconditional resignation was viewed by the adversaries of the Jamahiriya as a significant on from both tactical and strategic points of view.”

The Syrian opposition, in spite of its patchy structure, is demonstrating unity of the same kind as it calls for Assad’s resignation.

In the meantime, the lack of agreement among the Syrian oppositionists is far from the only block stone in the way to the Geneva-2 peace conference, Margelov said.

Mass media reports suggest that the participants in a many-hours-long preparatory meeting in the run-up to the conference found time for discussing the Iranian problem, too. “The problem of Iran’s participation in the conference was the very point that disrupted the trilateral meeting for a third time, since Russia, contrary to the U.S. strongly objects to Iran’s presence at the Syrian peace conference.”