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Group of Five plan for Syria runs counter to Geneva process — Lavrov

January 31, 2018, 1:02 UTC+3

The Russian foreign minister called the initiative "a non-transparent activity"

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SOCHI, January 30. /TASS/. The plan for Syria drawn up by the U.S., France, the UK, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia appeared in a non-transparent manner and runs counter to the Geneva process, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters on Tuesday.

"You mentioned a document drafted by the five nations that gathered in Washington and then in Paris to jot down some ideas on paper," he said. "This is non-transparent activity that runs counter to the Geneva process, because the five randomly chosen countries got together while the key players who are engaged in Syrian peace settlement were not invited there."

"I don’t even mention here the Syrian parties to the conflict," Lavrov said. "No one gave a thought to them. But neither Turkey nor Iran nor Russia, which are the guarantor nations of the Astana process, were invited."

Lavrov voiced the apprehension that non-transparent gatherings of the kind might impede the Geneva process, "[…] since someone may get an illusion such get-togethers offer a faster way to agreements than the inclusion of all the participants without exception."

"We’re moving along the other path," he said. "It’s true that striking an agreement is a more difficult thing in the conditions where sitting at the same table are adversaries, not the like-minded sides that gathered in Paris and Washington."

"Still the agreements they reach are much more stable, durable and reliable than the ones the like-minded nations adopt at selective meetings instead of the Syrian people," Lavrov said.

The five countries drafted an unofficial document on peace settlement in Syria at a meeting in Washington on January 12. They did not publish its text but Al-Mayadin TV channel said quoting its own well-informed sources the document spoke, among other things, about turning Syria into a mixed presidential-parliamentary republic, decentralization, profound reforming, and postwar reorganization under control from the outside.

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