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Russian UN envoy: Accusing Russia of breakdown of intra-Syrian talks is bad taste

February 05, 20:48 UTC+3
"Now it is not time for mutual accusations. We must invigorate joint political efforts," Vitaly Churkin says
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Vitaly Churkin

Vitaly Churkin

© Kena Betancur/Getty Images

UNITED NATIONS, February 5. /TASS/. Putting blame for the breakdown of the intra-Syrian talks on Russia is a manifestation of bad taste, Russian Permanent Representative to United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Friday.

"It is bad taste. Now it is not time for mutual accusations. We must invigorate joint political efforts. They’d better put the blame on those who backs terrorists," he said ahead of a United Nations Security Council closed-door meeting on Syria.

Earlier, Syria’s Riyadh-based opposition and a number of countries, including Great Britain and France, put a part of the blame for the postponement of the intra-Syrian talks on Russia having accused it of stepping up its air operation in Syria.

"It is in no way escalation on the part of Russia. It is invigoration of the Syrian government’s efforts against terrorists. Some of the besieged areas have been liberated in the recent days," Churkin said.

The Russian diplomat said he hoped the intra-Syrian talks would be finally launched by February 25, the date appointed by the United Nations special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, who is briefing Security Council members behind closed doors.

Talks on Syria weakened by absence of Kurds

The Geneva talks on Syria were weakened by the absence of representatives of Syrian Kurds who were not let to join under Turkey pressure, Vitaly Churkin went on to say.

He said Russia is disappointed at insufficient representation of the opposition whereas the Geneva communique of 2012 and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 of December 2015 provided for a most wide representation of the opposition. "The talks were weakened by Turkey’s objecting against the Kurds’ participation. They [the Kurds] are a part of the country and should take part in the talks," the Russian diplomat stressed.

Moreover, in his words, representatives of Syria’s internal opposition, who had met in Moscow and in Cairo in the recent months, could not take part in the talks in full format either. The delegation of the Riyadh-backed opposition, in the meantime, had come to Geneva not to conduct negotiations but rather to set forth conditions, he said.

Foreign intervention in Syrian conflict to lead to its aggravation

Foreign military intervention in Syria will lead to the aggravation of the conflict in this country, Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin said on Friday, commenting, at the request of TASS, on preparations of Saudi Arabia and Turkey for a possible invasion into Syria.

"Foreign intervention will definitely exacerbate the conflict, so I hope that these are theoretical things, which sometimes appear in media reports," he said.

On Thursday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said there were serious grounds to suspect Turkey of intensive preparations for intrusion into Syria. In response, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Moscow’s approach as laughable. He accused Russia of involvement in the deaths of 400,000 people during the armed conflict in Syria and the occupation of its territory.

On the same day, Saudi Arabia said it was ready to take part in a ground operation in Syria as part of the US-led international coalition. The statement came a day after the suspension of the UN-brokered intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

The UN Security Council is now holding a closed-door meeting with the participation of UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura. He is expected to brief the participants on the reasons for the failure of his attempts to launch the talks between Damascus and the opposition and set out further steps.

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