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Lavrov: UN's recall of its invitation for Iran to Geneva II not catastrophic

January 21, 2014, 13:40 UTC+3

All external players, having an influence on the situation in Syria, should take part in the Geneva II conference - Russia's Foreign Minister

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives for the Geneva II peace talks

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon arrives for the Geneva II peace talks


MOSCOW, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. UN’s recall of its invitation for Iran to take part in the Geneva II conference on Syria was a mistake, but there is nothing catastrophic about it, Russian Foreign Minister told a news conference reviewing the results of 2013 here on Tuesday. Lavrov has reiterated that all the external players, having an influence on the situation in Syria, should take part in the Geneva II international conference.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier extended an invitation for Iran to take part in the internationally mediated talks on the settlement of the ongoing conflict in Syria, but recalled it earlier on Monday after Tehran voiced a set of preconditions for its participation.

Fight with extremists and Al-Qaeda should be prioritized at the Geneva II international peace conference on Syria, the diplomat added.

“Escalation of extremism and terrorism in Syria is the most important problem,” Lavrov said. “All representatives of world community recognize” this fact, the minister noted.

Russia welcomes prevalence of approaches based on the international law to resolving problems of Syria and Iran, added Lavrov. “Russia with other partners helped mobilize efforts of the world community on the Syrian and Iranian tracks,” he said. “We are satisfied that approaches based on norms of the international law have prevailed".

Iran’s absence at an international peace conference on Syria will not promote unity of Muslim world in fight against terrorism, Lavrov said.

“Syrian crisis has exposed contradictions accrued in the region, including inside Islamic world,” he noted. “We warned permanently against impermissibility of split in Islamic world that will entail disastrous consequences,” Lavrov added. “Iran’s absence will not promote efforts to ensure unity of Muslim world, particularly in fight against terrorism,” Lavrov said with confidence.

Russia is doing its best to promote political settlement of the Syrian crisis, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.

“We are satisfied with the fact that reasonable approaches based on the logic of peace, basic principles of international law prevailed,” he noted. “We appeal to organize work on this basis consistently in opposition to unilateral actions, including attempts to use force bypassing the UN Charter,” Lavrov added.

The situations “on the ground” in Syria is very tangled, the opposition groups are fighting with each other for power, and gunmen constantly change sides, the diplomat said.

“We are concerned over these developments, because these structures, to a certain degree, fight terrorism, but they do not fight terrorism as a phenomenon, they fight for wining positions in Syria, simply said, for power,” Lavrov noted.

“Part of the Free Syrian Army and other groups have formed the Islamic Front, comprising a number of small groups, which resemble Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist structures,” the minister said.

Russia-U.S. relations

The irritants - missile defense and extraterritorial application of American laws against Russian citizens and companies impede the expansion of Russia-U.S. co-operation, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“Productive results of Russia-U.S. joint work in a number of key spheres of world politics have confirmed the considerable potential of bilateral interaction,” the minister said. Nevertheless, he noted, “irritants still remain.” Among them, Lavrov stressed, “there are the deployment of a global missile defense system and attempts at extraterritorial application of American legislation against Russian citizens and companies.”

“For our part, we are open for building up partnership with the degree of intensity to which Washington is ready,” the foreign minister said. “Certainly, it should be done based on mutual respect for each other’s interests, equality and non-interference in internal affairs.”

Iran's nuclear program

The second stage of fulfilling the agreements on Iranian nuclear program will begin in a few weeks, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“The second stage will begin not at the end of the first stage, but already now,” Lavrov noted.

He added that consultations of the second stage should begin in a couple of weeks “actually with the task to agree on final settlement of all problems related with Iranian nuclear program.”

Russia hopes that artificial obstacles will not hamper fulfilment of the accords on Iranian nuclear program, said Lavrov.

“When all issues are settled, all sanctions should be cancelled, including sanctions that were imposed by the U.N. Security Council,” the minister noted. He acknowledged that this is hard work.

Russia-EU relations

The program of ‘joint steps’ to cancel the visa regime with the European Union is fulfilled, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference.

“Negotiated package of blocks has earlier been prepared for transition to visa-free regime. According to our estimates, they are fulfilled, criteria set in them are attained,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lavrov noted EU attempts to link these steps with other agreements not related with them, particularly in human rights, hamper transition to next stage of talks.

Situation in Ukraine

There is no immediate need for Russia’s mediation for settling the situation in Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news conference.

“As far as I understand, there is no need for mediation at this point. We have received no such requests so far,” he said.

Russia denounces any violence in Ukraine and believes that the talk about its split is provocation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday. The Russian diplomat said the behavior of certain European politicians regarding the Ukrainian situation was "unbecoming."

North Korea

Concerns over North Korea should not be an excuse for deploying a U.S missile defense system in the region, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a news conference reviewing the results of 2013 on Tuesday.

“We do not want a new excuse to appear to build up military muscle, including deployment of strategic bombers, aircraft carriers near our borders and particularly the accelerated creation of components of a global U.S. missile defense system in this region,” the minister said.

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