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Lavrov calls on UN to invite Moscow group of Syria’s opposition to Geneva

February 20, 13:11 UTC+3

"The fact that representatives of the Moscow group have not received invitation is regrettable," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed

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Representatives of Syrian opposition groups meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Representatives of Syrian opposition groups meeting with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

© Dmitry Serebryakov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 20. /TASS/. Russia believes it is unacceptable that the Moscow group of Syria’s opposition has not been invited for Geneva talks and has sent a signal to the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

Lavrov noted that under UN Resolution 2254, the delegation of the Syrian government and all opposition groups, including the Moscow, Cairo, Riyadh and Astana groups, should be invited by the UN for this week’s talks in Switzerland’s Geneva.

"The fact that representatives of the Moscow group, namely Qadri Jamil (leader of the Popular Front for Change and Liberation) have not received invitation is regrettable," Lavrov stressed. "Today we already sent a signal to De Mistura drawing his attention to the unacceptability of such discriminatory approach to forming the opposition’s delegation."

"Qadri Jamil did not say that he would not come. He said that he had not received the invitation. And polite people do not go anywhere without the invitation," Lavrov said, adding that sending the invitation is not a "goodwill gesture but a commitment of our UN colleagues."

"I’m convinced that over the last several days before the talks they will be able and should rectify the current situation," he said.

Another round of UN-sponsored talks on Syrian reconciliation is expected to begin in Geneva on February 23, after a break of nearly ten months. De Mistura earlier said the crisis in Syria may be settled this year. He explained his optimism by the fact that the ceasefire in the country, announced in December, is being observed in general.

Moscow hopes new US State Department’s team to join Syria peace effort

The Russian foreign minister hopes that the new team of the US State Department will actively join the Syria peace effort as soon as it is formed.

Lavrov said during last week’s meeting in Germany’s Bonn with his US counterpart Rex Tillerson they discussed the fight against international terrorism, declared a priority of the Donald Trump administration.

The sides agreed that "the formation of the new US team in the Syrian direction" is rather important and representatives of the State Department and the White House are now actively dealing with this."

"As soon as this team is set up, I hope, it will actively join our efforts," Lavrov stressed. "These efforts will be based on the interests of the international community and the US itself much more firmly than the efforts of their predecessors of the Obama administration, which did a lot so that agreements with participation of John Kerry would never result into political coordination."

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