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Deputy FM: Setting date for Geneva II proves things move in right direction

November 25, 2013, 20:14 UTC+3 GENEVA

Gatilov noted that Russia “is quite satisfied with its cooperation with American colleagues and U.N. officials

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© AP/Mikhail Metzel

GENEVA, November 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia hopes that a set of decisions will be prepared by January 22, 2014, when an international conference on Syria known as Geneva II is to be held, to ensure full compliance with the Geneva Communique of 2012, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.

“The conference on Syria is a major event, which shows that things are moving in the right direction, specifically towards political settlement of the Syrian conflict on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012,” he said on Monday, November 25.

“We hope that we will be able to finalize all issues in the remaining time in order to work out a substantial set of documents for the conference so as to ensure full compliance with the provisions set forth in the Communique,” Gatilov said.

He noted that Russia “is quite satisfied with its cooperation with American colleagues and U.N. officials.” “Such constructive atmosphere when discussing all issues related to the organisation of the conference allowed us to achieve this remarkable result,” Gatilov said.

The diplomat said the atmosphere at the talks between Russia, the U.S. and U.N. had become more positive following the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany).

“The atmosphere has in fact become more positive. One of the reasons for this is of course the agreement on the Iranian nuclear programme and the progress in the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria,” the deputy minister said.

“All this creates a rather useful and positive background. We would like to hope that we will be able to use the new atmosphere for moving forward in convening the conference on Syria,” he added.

He said the next trilateral meeting on the preparation of Geneva II would be held in late December.

“We have agreed to hold one more trilateral meeting at the end of December to finalize the remaining issues,” he added.

The goal of Geneva II would be to achieve a political solution to the conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the Government and the opposition for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012.

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.

“I believe that the Geneva Communique enables the Syrian brothers to overcome the crisis and opens the way toward building their new republic,” Brahimi said.

As the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Brahimi has consistently called on the U.S. and Russia to exercise leadership and work together to initiate a process to implement the Geneva Declaration of June 30, 2012.

At their talks in Moscow on May 7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed to hold an international conference on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, in order to try to overcome the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov and Kerry said that their countries would encourage both the Syrian government and opposition groups to look for a political solution.

More than 100,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since March 2011 when opposition protesters first sought the ouster of the Assad Government, and a further 6.5 million people have been displaced, the U.N. said.

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