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MOSCOW, February 03. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riad Haddad on Monday, February 3, to discuss the results of the first round of the Geneva II international conference on Syria that ended last week.
“During the meeting, [the diplomats] exchanged views on the results of the first round of the Syrian talks at the Geneva II international conference. The Russian side stressed the need to find as soon as possible mutually acceptable solutions addressing all aspects of the Syrian crisis in the context of further inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of full implementation of the Geneva communiqué of June 30, 2012,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, wrapped up eight days of meetings in Geneva between the Syrian parties and said that he had suggested that the talks resume, on the basis of the agreed agenda, on February 10. He said that the opposition delegation had agreed on this date, while the government delegation said that it needed to consult with Damascus first.
Brahimi said that progress during the past few days of talks had been very slow, but the sides had engaged in an acceptable manner. He said that this was a modest beginning on which to build further progress.
He added that the sides were committed to discussing the full implementation of the Geneva Communiqué of June 30, 2012. The envoy also noted some areas where the parties’ positions were converging and expressed his hope that they can start to build more common ground when they meet again next time.
Asked whether the government would return to the talks, the spokesperson said that Brahimi had said that the government delegation had informed him that they intended to return but needed to check with Damascus.
Asked about potential military intervention, UN Spokesperson Farhan Haq reiterated the Secretary-General’s consistent belief that there can be no military solution to the crisis.
Looking for political solution
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 communiqué, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, and since endorsed by the UN Security Council.
The communiqué 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.
“It’s very clear to both sides that the ‘meat’ of the conference is how to implement these positions in the Geneva communiqué,” Brahimi said.
The conference marks the first time the Syrian government and the opposition will meet for direct talks since the conflict began in March 2011. Hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Joint Envoy Brahimi, the conference took place in Switzerland in two parts, opening in Montreux on January 23, 2014, and continuing at the UN office in Geneva, on January 24. More than 30 nations had been invited to attend.