MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Expert-level consultation between the United States and Russia on Syria will be held in Moscow on Monday. US special envoy for Syria Daniel Rubinstein arrived in the Russian capital on Sunday to attend the meeting.
The plans to hold consultations were divulged to TASS last week by an informed diplomatic source, and later the US State Department confirmed the information about Rubinstein’s arrival in Moscow.
According to the US Department of State, "As part of our ongoing efforts to bring about a political solution to the Syrian conflict, US Special Envoy to Syria Daniel Rubinstein will travel May 15-27 to Geneva, Moscow, Ankara, Istanbul, and Riyadh to participate in UN-led consultations on Syria with UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura, discuss with officials of several governments the need for a sustainable political transition based on the Geneva principles, and continue his engagement with the leadership of Syria’s moderate political opposition." "This trip reaffirms the United States’ strong commitment to working with the international community and the moderate Syrian opposition to create conditions for a negotiated political transition as the only means to end the ongoing conflict, and to help Syrians lay the foundation for a free, democratic, and pluralistic future. The United States remains firmly of the belief that Bashar al-Assad has no role in Syria’s political future," the State Department said.
A TASS source, commenting on the Moscow consultations’ agenda, said that "the parties expect to more deeply and thoroughly discuss issues related to a political settlement of the Syrian crisis."
According to US embassy in Moscow press attache William Stevens, the consultations in Moscow may last until May 19. Rubinstein’s tour of the designated countries will continue until May 27.
The Syrian issue was raised during U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit to Russia. After the meeting in Sochi, the US state secretary said he had agreed with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to consider specific concepts for a settlement in Syria, as well as to continue this dialogue in the coming weeks and do it more efficiently.
Moscow remains one of the most important participants in the international efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria. Since the beginning of the year, the Russian capital has hosted two meetings of representatives of the Syrian opposition and government. The meeting’s participants adopted a document known as the "Moscow platform." It fixed the approaches of the Syrian authorities and opposition representatives to a number of fundamental issues concerning the Syrian conflict settlement.
Russian Special Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and African Countries, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told TASS in an interview that the Moscow meetings and contacts in Geneva fit into the overall effort to prepare the full-format "Geneva-3" process.
"Contacts of de Mistura in Geneva, the contacts of Syrians themselves, of the Syrian opposition - all they take place within the framework of our common goal of preparing the "Geneva-3," the diplomat said. "This is the format for the organisation of inter-Syrian negotiations, as it is written in the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, that is, between the government and various groups of the Syrian opposition, as well as the Syrian civil society, with the assistance of the international community and under the UN auspices."
Bogdanov said that Russia has believes and continues to believe that there is no alternative to the Geneva Communique as "the Syrian settlement basis.".