MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. Moscow does not dramatize the refusal by the National Coalition for Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces (NCR) to attend the intra-Syrian consultations in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.
The second round of intra-Syrian consultations, which began in Moscow earlier on Monday, has brought together more representatives of various opposition movements and groups than the previous one, Lavrov said. "More Syrian oppositional groups are taking part in the current meeting than in the previous one last January," he said. "Another refusal by the National Coalition for Revolution and Opposition Forces to dispatch its representatives to Moscow does not make us happy. But this is not evidence of rejection of our efforts. Possibly they have some considerations of their own."
Lavrov said he regretted the decision of the League of Arab States (LAS) to announce NCR the only representative of the Syrian people. "This does not help now. Everybody realises that the situation is quite different and it is much more diverse and complicated," the minister added.
"During the first meeting no decisions were made, only a set of principles formulated by moderator Vitaly Naumkin was adopted and nobody argued with these principles," the minister said. "Syrian oppositionists themselves adopted a statement in favour of a sovereign, united Syria where all ethnic and confessional groups feel comfortable and safe."
"Syria has not yet achieved this," he said.
The Russian foreign minister also drew attention to the parallel efforts taken by Egypt. "Maybe, Saudi Arabia is also interested in making efforts to stimulate all opposition members to work out common approaches," the minister said. "Maybe, all the efforts will meet in one point and help the sides to work out a common platform."
"We don’t set any deadlines, as so much blood has been spilled in Syria, there have been many false starts in the attempts to launch these processes, that it is necessary to be based not on the fact that somebody has put first one opposition group, but on the life demands," Sergey Lavrov said. "It is necessary to achieve the goals set in the Geneva communique agreed on 30 June 2012 — the Syrian nationwide dialogue should include representatives of the entire spectrum of Syrian society — both from the government and opposition."
"Any decisions on the Syrian state and society development path should be based on consensus among all Syrians," he said. "If all our partners were guided by these principles, if they were willing to agree rather than seek unilateral advantages, we would have long ago helped the Syrians to start a serious and responsible dialogue."
The participants in the consultations said previously they did not expect any major breakthrough towards ending a conflict that has killed more than 220,000 people in Syria since early 2011. January’s unproductive first round of consultations in Moscow was not attended by the main political opposition group, the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition. It said it would take part only if the talks were to lead to the departure of Syrian President Bashar Assad. The Istanbul-based National Coalition said it would also stay away from the second round of talks, due to last until Thursday. Russia says combating terrorism in Syria should be the top priority now and has called on the opposition groups to work with Assad to attaint that goal.