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ROME, January 24. /ITAR-TASS/. The very fact that the international conference on the peaceful settlement in Syria has begun is a big success, first of all, of the Russian diplomacy, Russia’s Ambassador to the Holy See, a former Minister of Culture, Alexander Avdeyev told Itar-Tass on Friday.
Fruitful cooperation between Russia and the United States should facilitate the success at the inter-Syrian talks, added Avdeyev. “We will hope that the Syrian parties will find a solution to the crisis,” the diplomat said.
“The experience of multilateral talks on the Balkans proves that it is much more difficult to finish the conference than to convene it,” the ambassador noted.
The conference on Kosovo in February 1999 “yielded no results. The Dayton Agreement is still effective and ensures peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the result of good Russian-American cooperation,” Avdeyev said.
“Vatican is very interested in the success of the forum. Otherwise it would be impossible to stop the flow of refugees, the sufferings of Christians, and, like all the local residents, they may remain victims and hostages of the war,” Avdeyev said.
The ambassador stressed Vatican and Russia “share the estimation of the negative role of Islamic extremism in the Syrian events.”
“Vatican supports fully our efforts and the Pope calls on the Syrian opposition to disassociate from the Islamic extremists,” Avdeyev said.
He also stressed the common position on the issue, shared by the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. “On this topic, we have been in permanent contact with Vatican’s diplomatic services,” the ambassador added.
Avdeyev said Vatican was a participant in Geneva II. “This is unusual, since, as a rule, in conferences of the kind Vatican is participating as an observer only,” the diplomat concluded.