VIENNA, December 7. /TASS/. Moscow and Washington are confident that both the government of Syria and opposition should take part in the talks in Geneva without any preliminary conditions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, commenting on results of his talks with the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
"[We] also discussed the political process under the UN auspices, which restarted some time ago, revived after the beginning of the Astana process and which has intensified recently thanks to the initiatives voiced at the summit of the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Sochi," Lavrov said. "We welcomed the resumption of the Geneva talks, but expressed confidence that both the Syrian government and opposition should take part in the talks without any preconditions."
"Regrettably, some of the oppositionists stick to a position that runs counter to their own liabilities and keep on advancing preliminary conditions," he noted, adding that Moscow and Washington share a common approach to that matter "that there must be no preliminary conditions."
"The parties must begin direct talks on issues of a new constitution and preparations for elections," he added.
The eighth round of intra-Syrian talks kicked off in Geneva on November 28. The Syrian government delegation arrived with a delay and on December 2 returned to Damascus for consultations. It is expected back in Geneva on December 10. The round is to finish on December 15.
The Syrian government insists that the demand for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down immediately be crossed out from the communique of the recent opposition meeting in Riyadh. This demand was a stumbling block on a path to direct contacts between the parties on the first week of the talks.