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Lavrov: Syrian parliamentary elections should prevent power vacuum

April 13, 2016, 13:14 UTC+3

In Sergey Lavrov's words, Moscow is calm on Wednesday’s parliamentary elections in Syria as they ensure the work of the current government bodies

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MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. The parliamentary elections held in Syria on April 13 should prevent a legal vacuum in the country until a new Syrian constitution is worked out, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"There is the understanding that this process [intra-Syrian talks] should result in a new constitution on the basis of which new early elections will be held," the minister said. "But until that happens, a legal vacuum and a vacuum in the sphere of Syria’s executive power branch should be prevented. The elections that are held today should play this role."

Lavrov said that the intra-Syrian negotiations that are beginning in Geneva, Switzerland this week will focus on the discussion of the country’s political reform.

"The discussion by our common consent — by agreement of the International Syria Support Group, by decision of the UN Security Council — will focus on the political reform in the Syrian Arab Republic," he said.

According to the minister, "the Syrian sides will have to come to terms on a new constitution, on how they see the structures that will help the country to make a smooth transition to a new system."

The Russian foreign minister said that it is the Syrian people that should decide how the transitional process in Syria will be conducted.

Russia calm on Syrian parliamentary elections

In Sergey Lavrov's words, Moscow is calm on Wednesday’s parliamentary elections in Syria as they ensure the work of the current government bodies.

"Today Syria holds parliamentary elections," Lavrov said. "Our relation to them is rather calm as we believe that they ensure the activity of those institutions in Syria that are envisaged by the current constitution of the country."

Syria’s parliamentary elections are held on a multi-party basis in line with the constitution endorsed at the referendum on February 26, 2012. Syria’s parliament, the People’s Council, consists of 250 members elected for a four-year term through universal, direct and secret ballot voting.

Syrian opposition should work on reaching compromise

The Syrian opposition should work on reaching a compromise, and it is necessary to include Kurds in Geneva talks, Russian Foreign Minister went on to say.

"Talking about the [Syrian] opposition that does not want to recognize the results of April 13 election, the main thing is that all opposition forces that gathered in Geneva — and it is also necessary to invite the party of Syrian Kurds — they all should work on reaching a compromise," Lavrov said.

The first round of inter-Syrian talks finished on March 24. The next round of negotiations should start in mid-April, though several delegations may join later, according to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.

Moscow has repeatedly called for including Kurds in the negotiations process. Russian presidential envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said earlier that Moscow expects that a single opposition delegation, including Kurds, could be set up at a new round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva.

Syrian should reach common agreement, external forces should facilitate it

Syrians should reach a common agreement, and external players should contribute to that, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"All participants in inter-Syrian talks should be influenced. We sometimes hear - just like on Ukraine, that Russia should implement the Minsk Agreements though it is enough to read this document to understand who should implement it - that Russia should make the Syrian government fulfill the decision of UN Security Council on reforming the political system," Lavrov said.

"This is a rather incorrect position, and it is sometimes voiced by US representatives," the foreign minister noted. "Of course, we explain the situation to them, and they understand everything very well. However, the tendency to say in any conflict that Russia should do something alone while others will wait for everything to be decided for them, is a wrong tendency, and it leads to additional complications. That’s not how things should be done," he added.

Russia is working with the government and opposition on the Syrian settlement, while Western partners do not want to talk with the government, he went on. The West "should assume the responsibility for forcing the opposition, including many radical oppositionists, to accept the conditions coordinated earlier - the conditions that envisage holding talks with the Syrian government with the aim of reaching a compromise," Lavrov said.

"Our decisions say that only Syrians themselves can decide on the future of Syria, there can be no flexibility here," Lavrov said. "Flexibility should be demonstrated by Syrian sides in order to reach a common agreement, and all external players should only demand that they follow those principles that were approved. Everything will depend on how scrupulously our partners from US, EU, from the Persian Gulf and Middle East in general will follow the decisions of UN Security Council," he added.

"We will do everything possible, we will definitely complete our part of work, like we always do," the foreign minister noted.


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