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Participation of groups in Geneva III does not mean recognition, insists Lavrov

February 3, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has insisted that the participation of Jaish Al-Islam and Ahrar Al-Sham in the Geneva III talks does not imply their recognition as negotiating partners. Lavrov made his comment while stressing, nonetheless, that the Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva must include all members of the opposition forces.

He was speaking during a joint press conference with his UAE counterpart, Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan in Abu Dhabi. “It is internationally agreed that the participation of members from Jaish Al-Islam and Ahrar Al-Sham in the intra-Syrian talks would be in their personal capacity only,” explained Lavrov, “and on condition that they accept all of the requirements of Resolution 2254 of the UN Security Council, in particular, the categorical rejection of extremist activity and commitment to Syria’s territorial integrity.” That, added the foreign minister, is the premise upon which Moscow is proceeding.

According to Al-Nahyan, while the world is looking for the best possible means to carry out negotiations in Geneva, it actually depends on the intentions of all Syrian parties. “We should remember that we have reached this point for several reasons,” he pointed out. “There were many opportunities to solve the problem earlier. Today, the situation is more complicated and the number of casualties has increased dramatically.”

Calling for political honesty, the UAE minister said that everyone involved needs to work collectively and assess all criteria. “This includes political, economic, social and development factors,” he noted. “It is the duty of all of us to get the Syrian people out of this tragedy.”

Syrian activists hold banners during a protest against Assad regime, in front of United Nations (UN) Geneva office in Geneva, Switzerland on February 01, 2016. Images by Anadolu Agency.