MOSCOW, March 3. /TASS/. Russia urges to focus on the Syrian constitution rather than dwell on regime change in Damascus, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters on Friday.
"We do not counterpose the Astana process to the Geneva talks, specifically Geneva-4, which have eventually been launched," he said. "Together with our Turkish and Iranian counterparts, we have been able, and I think this is recognized by everyone, to take a string a measures that made it possible, first and foremost, to consolidate the ceasefire, that is, to improve the situation on the ground," the diplomat said.
Ryabkov noted that Moscow is committed to "an inclusive dialogue with all groups, including the opposition, which are ready to move towards the settlement."
"Unfortunately, there are some forces that would prefer to boil down this dialogue to the task of changing the legitimate authorities in Damascus, which is unacceptable for us," he emphasized. "Russia is in favor of tackling all the issues related to the Syrian constitution in the first place."
"We understand that the priorities do not coincide. However, discussing the Constitution issue could and should be a unifying factor. We hope for success. We have never counterposed our efforts to what is going on in Geneva," Ryabkov said.
"Of course, we criticized (UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan) de Mistura, above all, for his tardiness in arranging the negotiation process," the diplomat noted. "However, we cooperate with him closely now, the way we did before. We hope to continue doing so in the future."