MOSCOW, May 17. /TASS/. The political settlement process in Syria should include the views of all the groups residing in the country’s territory, otherwise it will be impossible to attain a lasting conflict resolution, Russian presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Tuesday. According to him, the experience of Libya shows that there is no alternative to the political settlement.
"As for the experience of Libya, it’s a striking experience absolutely for all, as President [Vladimir] Putin has said more than once," the Kremlin official said. According to him, "the experience of Libya is telling, it shows that there is no alternative to a political settlement and that the narrow-minded approaches, devoid of any flexibility, are absolutely short-sighted."
Peskov said that "the political settlement process and negotiations with the aim of attaining a political settlement are underway" in Syria. "We have said that it should be absolutely inclusive, that is, it should include all the political, social and religious groups living in Syrian territory," the Kremlin official said. He said he is certain that "no viable and stable [conflict] resolution is possible without this."
The foreign ministers of the International Syrian Support Group (ISSG) are gathering in the Austrian capital Vienna on Tuesday for a meeting that will focus on the fulfilment of the two main tasks: ensuring the cessation of hostilities in the country and facilitating the country’s political settlement process, which, after two rounds of intra-Syrian negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, is once again threatened with a deadlock. Russia was represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Among the outstanding issues surrounding the political process there is the issue of the participation in the Geneva talks of Kurdish representatives from among the supporters of the Democratic Union Party who control a considerable part of Syrian territory and have a serious military potential. The Syrian opposition remains divided. The High Negotiations Committee (HNC) insists as an ultimatum on resignation of Syrian President Bashar Assad, on which the Damascus delegation refuses to talk. It is not clear who should be regarded as terrorists, and who - the opposition, which also creates difficulties at the Geneva negotiations. In these circumstances, the transition to direct discussions between Damascus and its opponents seems impossible. In other words, in order to really ensure effectiveness of the political process, it is not enough to return HNC to the negotiating table, it is necessary to settle other issues as well, taking into account the positions of all the sides, and not only the position of the sponsors of one of the sides.
On May 9, Russia and the United States as co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group came out with a joint statement on the situation in Syria. The document identifies key problems Moscow and Washington are ready to work jointly on to give an impetus to the process of Syrian settlement, including observance of the ceasefire regime, humanitarian assistance and organization of the political process.
A ceasefire regime brokered by Russia and the United States on February 22 officially came into effect in Syria at midnight Damascus time on February 27. This does not cover terrorist groups such as Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, both outlawed in Russia, and other groups recognized as terrorist by the United Nations Security Council. An hour before the ceasefire came into force, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution in support cessation of hostilities in Syria. The document was initiated by Russia and the United States and won support from all the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.