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Russian Security Council chief hopes Syria settlement will be completed in 1.5 years

February 01, 2016, 11:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Nikolay Patrushev noted the importance of involving into the process of political settlement in Syria constructive opposition forces that are ready to fight against terrorists

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© Mikhail Pochuev/ITAR-TASS

MOSCOW, February 1. /TASS/. Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev hopes that the political settlement process in Syria will be completed in 1.5 years.

"We will insists that the political process in Syria proceeds in the framework of approximate deadlines established by the Vienna group and UN Security Council and is completed in 1.5 years," Patrushev told foreign journalists.

"The next important step should be forming of national accord government, adopting a new Syrian constitution, starting making crucial social changes on its basis, and holding election," he noted.

The Security Council secretary added that Russia is interested in maintaining Syria’s territorial integrity and independence. "It is very regrettable that Syria has turned from a prosperous and stable country into a hot spot," Patrushev said. "That is why Russia initiated effective suppression of terrorism on the Syrian territory, as well as established an information center in Baghdad to coordinate efforts of countries that directly take part in military actions against terrorist groups. A similar coordination mechanism is being established in Jordan," he added.

"Talking about prospects for political settlement, it is, of course, necessary to take into consideration several factors, including the aggravation of Shia-Sunni confrontation," the secretary went on. "Incitement of inter-confessional and inter-ethnic strife in the region should be prevented in the interests of solving geopolitical tasks by separate countries, including Turkey," he noted.

Patrushev noted the importance of involving into the process of political settlement in Syria constructive opposition forces that are ready to fight against the Islamic State, Jebhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organizations. "After approving at the international level the list of terrorist groups, we should clearly establish the locations of non-radical armed groups that are ready to fight against terrorists in order to rule out, in particular, the possibility of delivering airstrikes at them," the secretary explained.

"It is important to contribute to soonest implementation of the agreements reached in Vienna and New York, relying on understanding the importance of launching negotiations process under UN auspices. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura should naturally play an important part in it," Patrushev said. "We proceed from the fact that the platform for negotiations with incumbent Syrian authorities should be formed with consideration of positions of a wide range of constructive opposition. We are ready to consider any initiatives that will help this process. However, I think it is unacceptable to try to include in the list of negotiators those who chose a path of terrorism to reach their goals," he added.

On 18 December 2015 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2254 in support of the Vienna agreements on the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Syria envisages participation of the Syrian opposition and representatives of government in the talks that started last Friday.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said last week that negotiations will last for six months but the first stage will take two-three weeks. Negotiations on Syria "in Vienna format" will be held in Munich on February 11 ahead of Munich Security Conference.

The final goals of negotiations are defined as establishing the transitional government, adopting a constitution and holding election in the next 18 months. The document does not mention Syrian President Bashar Assad whose future remains the main stumbling block. The resolution states that the Syrian people should decide the future of the country.

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