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Russia says early to convene meeting on Syria in New York next week

December 08, 2015, 13:26 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Moscow hasn't changed its stance on the Syrian issue and plans to maintain it

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Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson, Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson, Maria Zakharova

© Artiom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, December 8. /TASS/. Moscow believes it is premature to convene a ministerial meeting on Syria in New York on December 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said on Tuesday.

"Judging on how the events are developing, we think it is early to say there is readiness to convene the next meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) at the level of ministers in New York on December 18," Zakharova said.

Russia seeks the continuation the ISSG work in an efficient way with the goal of establishing the inter-Syrian political process in line with the statement of the Group adopted in Vienna on November 14, she said. The diplomat commented on the recent media reports citing foreign partners alleging that Russia has changed its stance on the Syrian issue.

"We have not changed and are not going to change it," Zakharova said, adding that Moscow plans to maintain its position including as part of the ISSG format which is "the best possible and promising."

But the effort should be based on certain rules: first sticking to a consensus during the decision-making process. "For this, first of all, all the participants of the Vienna format without exception should be present at the Group’s meetings. Second, the adopted decisions should be implemented."

This concerns agreeing on the list of the terrorist groups currently operating in Syria and setting up a negotiating platform involving a broad spectrum of Syrian opposition members and forming a representative delegation for talks with the Syrian government as demanded by the June 30, 2012 Geneva Communique.

While this "homework" still needs to be done, "convening a ministerial meeting would be counterproductive" and would mean turning the ISSG into a "discussion club" rather than a body aimed at assisting the Syrians in resolving the crisis, she said.

"We need not a ‘meeting for a meeting’ but such an event after which the participants could turn to the UN Security Council with an initiative of taking decisions aimed at advancing political settlement in Syria based on the inter-Syrian national consensus in line with the spirit and letter of the Geneva communique," the diplomat said.

The ISSG consists of the Arab League, China, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and the United States.

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