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Lavrov calls on US to influence Turkey on issue of including Kurds in inter-Syrian talks

March 11, 2016, 14:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Starting talks without this group is a demonstration of weakness of the international community, Russian foreign minister said

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Non-participation of Kurds in inter-Syrian talks will feed their thoughts on separation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.

"Kurds, including the Democratic Union (party) headed by Salih Muslim, control, in accordance with common estimates, at least 15% of the territory where they live in peaceful times," Lavrov said. "Now, when Kurds have become allies to the US-led coalition and Russia in the fight against Islamic State and Jebhat al-Nusra (terrorist organizations banned in Russia), they (Kurds) have strengthened their influence ‘on the ground’, their positions," he added.

"Starting talks without this group is a demonstration of weakness of the international community," the foreign minister went on. "Only Turkey blocks inviting Kurds - the only country that hopes to continue using only ultimatums in the future not only on Syria but also in the dialogue with EU. Other participatns of Syria Support Group speak clearly for the importance of including Kurds from the very start of the negotiations process," he said.

"I am convinced that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura should make a corresponding decision, this is his responsibility as a representative of the secretary general," Lavrov noted. "We regularly talks and hope that right conclusions will be made, not because we want this, but because it is demanded by UN Security Council resolution," he added.

Lavrov said that sometimes he hears an argument that Kurds may join negotiations at the second stage when the constitutional reform will be discussed. "However, I will remind that in accordance with agreements approved by UN Security Council, the first stage of talks will be devoted to forming the government and executive structure that should be formed by both the government and all oppositionists - the structure that will later prepare a constitutional reform and hold election," he noted.

"If such joint temporary government-opposition executive structure - however it is called - is formed without Kurds, then this will already be a serious violation of rights of a large and important population group in Syria," Lavrov said.

"Very dangerous prospects are on the conscience of those who will promote such approach. Excluding Kurds from the process from the very start will feed the attitudes of those forces among them that prefer not to remain in the framework of Syria but rather think of some kind of separation," Lavrov said. "I don’t think this is in anyone’s interests. It is impermissible to allow whims and ultimatums of one participant of Syria Support Group to create such risks and threats. I am confident that everyone understands it very well," he added.

"At least US understands it as they are, just like us, the allies to Kurds, including the Democratic Union Party, on the battlefield against terrorists. The main thing is that this understanding is followed by political will to influence one of their allies," Lavrov concluded.

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