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SOCHI, May 16 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow insists that Iran, Saudi Arabia and other neighboring countries be invited to an international conference on Syria, which however is not going to be held at the summit level
"Prior to discussing prospects for a convening a conference, it’s necessary to make sure that all parties will be present at it. The (Syrian) government has selected its delegation for negotiations. The opposition is going to meet next week,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists on Thursday. He explained that the Syrian opposition was expected to meet in several places because it did not have “a single umbrella”.
"The most important thing is to get the composition of the negotiating team from them,” Lavrov said.
“After that, we are going to determine the rest of the participants who will not be only from the Syrian side. We are convinced that it’s necessary to use the list of participants in the Geneva conference held last June. Besides, Syria’s neighbors, including Iran, should also be invited,” Lavrov emphasized.
"If we are going to do serious work, it’s necessary to ensure the participation of all the key influential external players and give up ideological and geopolitical predilections,” Lavrov emphasized. He added that Saudi Arabia should be among the participants in the conference.
Asked to comment on the format of the international conference on Syria, Lavrov replied that it would be decided later but said that the gathering was unlikely to take place at the summit level.