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Participation of Jaysh al-Islam in Syria talks does not mean group’s recognition — Lavrov

February 02, 2016, 13:17 UTC+3

Representatives of the Jaysh al-Islam group (outlawed in Russia as a terrorist group) in Geneva have to renounce terrorist activity

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Sergey Lavrov

Sergey Lavrov

© Alexander Scherbak/TASS

ABU DHABI, February 2. /TASS/. The participation of the Jaysh al-Islam group in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva does not mean the group’s recognition as a partner, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday following talks with his UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

"Concerning the composition of the opposition delegation in Geneva, we proceed from the assumption that that, in accordance with the decisions of the UN Security Council, the opposition should be represented by all major groups and reflect the whole range of the opponents of the regime to make sure that the talks on Syria’s future are based on a realistic approach and are not detached from reality," he said.

"We know that the opposition delegation formed in Riyadh has two members associated with Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar Al-Sham. We have reached an agreement (and the government delegation agreed with this) that these people, if they take part in the negotiation processes, they will do so in their personal capacity, that they will accept all the requirements of Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council, in particular, the categorical rejection of extremist activity and commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity," he said. "That’s the premise we proceed from."

"The participation in their personal capacity does not mean - and this is accepted by all, including the United States - these groups' recognition as negotiating partners," he said. "That’s our stance, just as the stance of many other members of the Syrian Support Group who regard these groups as terrorist. Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham are cooperating with such groups as Jabhat al-Nusra. There is a lot of evidence proving that these groups are extremist."

Lavrov hopes that Syrian opposition will form unified delegation at Geneva talks

According to the Russian minister, Moscow hopes that the Syrian opposition will form a unified delegation at inter-Syrian talks in Geneva.

"The current phase is critically important, all potential participants of the negotiations process are now adapting to one another," Lavrov said after talks with the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. "Talks should be comprehensive and include the whole range of the Syrian society," he added.

"There are now two opposition groups. Unfortunately, a unified delegation has not been formed. I hope that this is a temporary situation, and the presence of two delegations will not be a hurdle for normal work in any case," Lavrov noted.

The Russian foreign minister added that not all participants of meetings of opposition groups in Moscow and Cairo arrived to the talks. "There were difficulties with obtaining Swiss visas, and we drew attention of our colleagues to this. We should promptly secure everything necessary for participants in talks. I hope there will be no more delays like this," he noted.

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