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Any outside interference in Syrian settlement undermines Geneva agreement — Russia FM

January 28, 2015, 15:32 UTC+3
Moscow pressed for a settlement to be achieved by the Syrians themselves on the principles of the Syrian communique
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

© Ilya Pitalyov/TASS

MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. The Syrian issue requires a political settlement and only Syrians themselves can bring it about, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a meeting with representatives of inter-Syrian consultations in Moscow on Wednesday.

"We are certain that after the current hardships Syria will be able to re-establish itself as a united, sovereign, secular and prospering state, where all citizens and all ethnic and religious groups will feel themselves comfortable and secure and where their rights will be reliably protected," Lavrov said.

"I know that you all share the opinion that achieving that goal would be possible only on the basis of a political settlement and that only Syrians themselves will be able to identify the contours of that settlement," he said.

Syrians should make mutual concessions in the search for a compromise, Lavrov said.

"Now the task is to switch from confrontation to dialogue and solve the pressing issues of the national agenda what demands considerable efforts, including the readiness for mutual concessions and compromise," Lavrov said.

It is necessary to reinforce confidence-building measures between the Syrian government and the political opposition, Lavrov said.

"Certainly," Lavrov said, "this will demand difficult talks aimed at coordinating agreements on practical measures to build trust between the Syrian government, political opposition and civil society, on expansion and perfection of the practice of local truces, removal of obstacles on the way of humanitarian aid to the population, regulation of the status of militants who laid down their arms, release of arrested persons not involved in terrorism-related crimes."

The process of Syria’s settlement will be "long and complex" and will demand additional efforts to form a truly representative format of dialogue, Lavrov said, adding that Russia’s role in contributing to the conflict resolution is "absolutely transparent."

Lavrov said Moscow regards the inter-Syrian meeting in Moscow as the expression of Syrians’ confidence in Russia, irrespective of their political views.

"As far as I understand during our Moscow discussions over these several days we have been seeking to base on fixing the approaches that unite all of us - unity, sovereignty, Syria’s independence and the secular nature of the state," he said.

Later the sides will gradually switch to considering "the particular elements of the national unity platform," Lavrov added.

Any external interference in the Syrian settlement process, either coercive or political, undermines the Geneva agreement, Lavrov said.

"We are deeply convinced that outside interference, either it’s in the form of actions with the use of force or political dictate with the use of unilateral sanctions, undermines the spirit of the Geneva communique," he said.

"Our stance on the Syrian crisis has been always consistent: we have repeatedly stated that the settlement is up to Syrians themselves on the principles of the Geneva communique," he said.

The key principle of this document is the need to form mutual consent of the Syrian parties and an inclusive national dialogue without preconditions. "We have been seeking to contribute to this by providing the Moscow venue," he said.

The Geneva communique implies that there can be no "zero sum game" and all Syrians must be involved in the settlement process, Lavrov said. "All Syrians should derive benefits from it," he said.

Lavrov also said although not all the Syrian opposition members, who have been invited to take part in the Moscow meeting, have come, this is not a "big problem." "We are convinced that the efforts to promote the all-national dialogue will be continued," he said.

Moscow also sees the "added value" in those steps that the Egyptian leadership has been taking. "We are in contact with our Egyptian colleagues," he said.

The participants of the inter-Syrian consultations in Moscow understand that it is impossible to solve all the problems within just several days, but this effort should be launched, he said.

"I think that no one has illusions that within just several days of communication one can find a solution to all the problems," Lavrov said. "But this needs to be started as soon as possible," Lavrov said.

Leader of the opposition Popular Front for Change and Liberation Qadri Jamil said the Syrian opposition members at negotiations in Moscow have generally made up a list of 10 proposals for the settlement for the country’s conflict.

"This list exists, it provides for, among other things, the cessation of bombing attacks and disarming of armed groups," he said.

The issue of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s fate has not been raised at the Moscow talks, Jamil said. "Syria now faces a lot of much more urgent issues," Jamil said.

He also said it’s so far early to speak of the results of the consultations between the Syrian opposition members and Syrian government that are currently held in Moscow.

"We’ve just started negotiation today, they will be continued after a break and also tomorrow," he said.

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