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Russia welcomes any efforts to restart intra-Syrian talks — diplomat

November 17, 2016, 17:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A diplomat regrets Western countries do not share Russia's position

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, November 17./TASS/. Russia welcomes any moves that will help restart intra-Syrian negotiations, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Thursday.

"We welcome any events towards preparing an inclusive intra-Syrian dialog under the UN aegis, as we agreed," said Bogdanov, who is also Russian president’s special envoy for the Middle East and Africa.

"I hope such events - in Damascus and in other places - will help consolidate Syrians on a constructive basis, preserve Syria as a sovereign state, restore the economy, social sphere so that internally displaced people and those who found themselves on the border could return," Bogdanov said.

This necessitates "an inclusive intra-Syrian dialog within the framework of which the Syrian people themselves must decide the future of their country," Bogdanov added. "The issues of security guarantees (for this meeting) must be addressed to the Syrian authorities," he added.

Moscow is not losing the hope that the potential developed by Russia and the United States on the Syrian settlement will be used, he went on. 

"At present, the Middle East and North Africa are living through serious upheavals related to the exacerbation of interethnic and inter-confessional contradictions, and also an unprecedented upsurge in terrorism and extremism," the diplomat said.

"This situation has been largely prompted by the vicious practice of geopolitical engineering used by some Western countries and accompanied by the interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states and the attempts to overthrow unsuitable regimes, including by the use of force," the deputy foreign minister said.

"We warned Western countries from the very beginning about the danger of provoking uncontrolled chaos and implementing projects for the forcible change of regimes," Bogdanov said.

"However, Western countries did not share our position," the envoy said.

"Time has shown that this practice has let not one but several genies out of a bottle, with the terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra [terrorist organizations outlawed in Russia] and associated groupings becoming the most dangerous of them," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

"Russia holds a principled position, standing for the sole option of the political settlement (including in Syria) without external interference, for the solution of acute humanitarian problems and the uncompromising struggle with terrorism," the Russian deputy foreign minister said.

As the diplomat said, Russia and the United States as the co-chairmen of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) "have done enormous work to contribute to solving humanitarian problems [in Syria] and create conditions for launching the political process."

"A package of accords adopted on September 9 became the quintessence of this," Bogdanov said.

"However, on October 3, the United States made a unilateral decision to curtail this work." "We hope that the accumulated potential will nonetheless be needed," the diplomat said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will discuss the document drawn up by the so-called ‘Lausanne format’ members.

"Lavrov and Kerry have agreed to hold a meeting, I believe they will have a chance to discuss the entire range of issues concerning Syria," the diplomat said. He also said that "the ‘Lausanne format’ document has constantly been under discussion."

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