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Russia carrying out its mission of helping Syria in full — Russian diplomat

Gennady Gatilov also stated that participants in the international Syria donors conference in Brussels commended Russia’s role in the settlement of the conflict in that country

BRUSSELS, April 6. /TASS/. Russia is carrying out is mission of helping Syria in full, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, who represented Russia at the international Syria donors conference in Brussels, told journalists on Wednesday.

"We are contributing no less than others. We are doing it via international humanitarian agencies and organization, via the United Nations system and, naturally, on the bilateral basis practically every day. You all can see how our military distribute rations, humanitarian cargoes. We have been carrying out this mission in full," he stressed.

According to the Russian diplomat, contributions announced at such conferences are not always allocated in the long run. "And as for other countries’ contributions, as can be seen from the experience of previous conferences in Kuwait City and London, rather loud statements are made at them and big sums of donor funding are announced but it turns out in reality that a tiny part of such sums is actually allocated. So, it is meant for propaganda purposes and, regrettably, is not fulfilled in practice," he said.

The donor conference for Syria was held in Brussels on April 4-5 and yielded six billion euro raised by the international community for Syria’s humanitarian needs.

Russia’s role in settlement efforts

Participants in the international Syria donors conference that was held in Brussels on April 4-5 commended Russia’s role in the settlement of the conflict in that country, Gatilov said.

"I would like to note that all spoke in favor of political solution, the majority agreed that there is no military solution. Practically all hailed the Astana process and said it was of great help for the Geneva talks. In this context, they commended Russia’s role as an initiator and guarantor of the ceasefire," he noted.

Apart from that, participants focused on the humanitarian situation in Syria. "And, naturally, they pointed to the difficult humanitarian situation of the Syrian population. Of special concern it was for neighboring countries as they are the first to take the burden of having lots of refugees on their territories," the Russian diplomat said.

Russia, according to Gatilov, stressed that it is necessary to focus on how to help the Syrian population in practical terms. "And that it’s better drop the theory that reconstruction and revival of Syria can be carried out only after peace and stability are established in that country. That it is time to think about it already now," he said.

Russia thinks that "serious attention should be focused on demining issues," he noted. "We call to establish broad international solidarity and cooperation in this sphere. We have certain arrangements with United Nations organizations dealing with these matters. Apart from that, some are countries also want to make their contribution to these efforts," he added.

Some of the participants sought to place responsibility for the presumable use of chemical weapons in Syria’s province of Idlib on Damascus but they found no wide support, Gatilov added.

"As for this conference, of course, some tried to refocus it on that incident. And I should say they failed to do that," he said.

The fifth round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva wasn't a failure

The fifth round of intra-Syrian talks in Geneva was smooth but it would be wrong to say that it was a failure, minister said.

"The round which was held last week was not smooth as the situation is still in place when positions of the parties, particularly, the delegations of the government and the opposition, differ on a range of issues. There is an agenda of four provisions, or baskets, as they are referred to, and their priority ranking came to the fore at the Geneva discussions," Gatilov said.

He said that the government delegation insists that priority be given to issues related to anti-terrorism efforts whereas the opposition prioritizes issues of forming a transition governing body. "We thinks that all the four agenda provisions are equally important and are to be considered in parallel and without any preliminary conditions," the Russian diplomat stressed.

"Of special interest for us is the basket linked with Syria’s constitutional system. And discussion centered round these issues. Regrettably, so far it has yielded no practical results but it is not the reason to say that the round failed. Obviously, it is going to be a long process and we had been saying this all the time," he said.

However, in his words, the negotiating process is gradually moving on. "Maybe slowly but there is understanding that we must go on, on the basis of this basket, the agreed agenda, on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254 which is actually a fundament for the negotiating process," Gatilov said. "So far, it is difficult to forecast further progress at the talks. There are several stages, for instance, Astana meetings, which are scheduled for May 4. And, probably, it would be logical to arrange the next meeting in Geneva after Astana."

The fifth round of intra-Syrian talks was held in Geneva from March 23 to March 31. After the round, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura told journalists the date for the next meeting will appointed after consultations with the secretary general and the Security Council.