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Diplomat: Outside actors willing to take part must be invited to Geneva 2

December 22, 2013, 21:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Geneva 2 scheduled for January 22, 2014

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© AP Photo/Jaber al-Helo

MOSCOW, December 22, (ITAR-TASS). All outside actors who want to participate aware of the aim of the Geneva 2 international conference on Syria must be invited, Russian president’s Middle East envoy Mikhail Bogdanov said.

Summing up the results of a Russia-US-UN format meeting paving the way for the peace conference, Bogdanov said the main result was that it had confirmed the date of Geneva 2, scheduled for January 22, 2014. “This is a very important moment, as some western partners and representatives of some opposition groups had doubts and pessimism,” said Bogdanov, who is also Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister.

“We coordinated practically fully the list of outside participants in the conference,” Bogdanov said. “We discussed it at length, there were different requests, certain objections, mainly from our American colleagues,” he said. “Our fundamental stance is that all those who want to participate knowing the aim of the conference, must be invited,” he said. “This is useful, important from the point of view of attaching additional international weight to that conference, and making our common work more stable,” he added.

He told reporters that the Syrian leadership had already produced the list of the Syrian government delegation. “So I believe nobody has doubts any longer as to practical readiness of the Syrian government to send its delegation,” Bogdanov noted.

“When and if (and we hope this will happen) the Syrians agree on mutually acceptable options for the settlement of all problems connected with the crisis and the task to settle it, the conference must confirm these decisions and agree on how the international community will be helping in the implementation of these decisions. Including offering certain guarantees, and maybe certain possibilities,” he said. “I mean economic, financial or some other contribution, supported in a possible decision of the UN Security Council so that to maximally efficiently help the Syrian people in the implementation of the decisions they themselves will arrive at within the framework of negotiations,” the diplomat said.

He also criticized attempts of some western colleagues “to predetermine in advance the inter-Syrian agreement, as to who, what how and when must do”.

Focusing on statements from the French side that the Geneva 2 conference was doomed to failure, Bogdanov said Moscow remained “in constant touch with French colleagues”. According to him, “they began making corrections, saying that a statement of their minister may have been misinterpreted”. The diplomat believes French partners “have certain doubts as well as certain pessimism, but this does not mean that our French colleagues are not ready to participate, not ready to help the conference and in work with Syrians”. “Their doubts are justified to a certain extent, as so far positions of the Syrian parties have been poorly matching,” he noted. “But this is what the conference is convened for, and talks also begin so that they could exchange positions,” he said.

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