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Russia ready for interim steps to resume Geneva II

April 10, 2014, 22:22 UTC+3 GENEVA
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GENEVA, April 10, /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is ready to take interim steps towards resuming the Syria talks at the Geneva II international conference at the earliest opportunity, Russia’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Office at Geneva Alexei Borodavkin said on Thursday, April 10.

“We want the Syria talks to resume and a third round to be held as soon as possible, and we are ready to take interim steps towards that,” he said. “We could, for example, hold a new round of consultations between Russia, the United States and the United Nations.”

He believes that such consultations “should be aimed at giving an impetus to the negotiations”.

According to diplomatic sources, a trilateral meeting at the level of Russian and U.S. deputy foreign ministers and the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, could be held in Geneva on April 10, but no agreement on it had been reached.

“A third round is not just possible, it is necessary. But both Syrian sides must show a constructive attitude for that,” Borodavkin said. “The opposition’s statements that it will not return to the negotiations until Russia changes its position can hardly be called constructive. It’s not clear what exactly they mean. These are irresponsible and ill-considered statements,” the diplomat said.

The first two rounds of the Geneva II conference were held in late January and early February 2014 but yielded no result. Representatives of the Syrian government and the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces met at the same table for the first time in three years since the start of civil war in their country but failed to bridge the gap in their positions.

Moscow hopes that the third round of the Geneva conference on Syria will be convened shortly. “We do hope very much that the third round of the Geneva conference will be convened shortly,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in late March after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Brahimi urged the U.N. Security Council to show support for the Syrian talks to make their new round more productive. He said after a closed-door meeting of the Security Council on March 13 that the international community would like to continue the Geneva talks but needed the help and support of the Security Council to ensure that their new round is more productive than the previous two.

The international envoy briefed the Security Council on the progress achieved at the second round of the Geneva II international conference on Syria.

The second round of inter-Syrian talks ended officially in Geneva on February 15, and the parties are set to continue their discussions, but the date of the next round has yet to be agreed.

Brahimi said the agenda of the next round had been agreed and consisted of four points: violence and terrorism, a transitional governing body, national institutions, national reconciliation, and a national dialogue.

He said the last session of the second round was “as laborious as all the meetings we have had, but we agreed on an agenda for the next round when it does take place.”

Brahimi admitted that “these two rounds have not come out with very much.”

Brahimi stressed that “failure is always staring at us in the face. As far as the United Nations is concerned we will certainly not leave one stone unturned if there is a possibility to move forward. If there isn’t, we will say so.”

The goal of the international conference on Syria is to achieve a political solution to the three-year-long conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the two sides for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, and since endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

The communique lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

On March 12, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for renewed political efforts to end what he described as the biggest humanitarian and security crisis in the world.

He believes that “only a political solution will end the nightmare of the Syrian people.” Ban urged Russia and the United States, as the initiating states of the Geneva Conference on Syria, “to take clear steps to re-energise the Geneva process”.

The basis of those talks is full implementation of an action plan adopted in the Geneva Communique of 2012, the first international conference on the conflict, which calls for setting up a transitional government that should then lead the country to free and fair elections.

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