Russia regrets part of Syrian opposition setting terms for participating in Geneva-2
Following the general assembly of the National Coalition in Istanbul on January 6-7, the Coalition's leadership has stated it would make the final decision on participation in Geneva-2 not later than January 17.
"It has been concluded with regret that one of the Syrian opposition movements continues to set preliminary conditions for its participation in the Geneva-2 international conference, thus attempting to predetermine its results," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Following the meeting in Istanbul, National Coalition Chairman, Ahmed Jarba, has maintained his position, the statement said.
At the same time, several dozen assembly participants said they exited the National Coalition due to disagreements regarding participation in the Geneva-2 international conference and approaches to resolving the Syrian crisis, the document said.
Representatives of Russia soon intend to conduct a number of meetings at various levels with representatives of the Syrian opposition, including the National Coalition, Russian Foreign Ministry says.
"We continue to conduct energetic and purposeful work with all Syrian representatives and parties, including the National Coalition. In this context, in the forthcoming period, we have planned a number of relevant meetings and contacts at a high level", a message posted on the ministerial website on Thursday reads.
According to the report, Moscow still believes that there is no alternative to a political and diplomatic settlement of the Syrian crisis. "Its start without preconditions on January 22 at the international forum in Montreux, Switzerland, is intended to put an immediate end to any kind of violence and bloodshed, and the suffering of the people of Syria", the message says.
A delegation of the Syrian opposition coalition is poised to come to Moscow before January 17 to discuss the group’s participation in the forthcoming Syria peace talks, its deputy chief has confirmed.
The National Syrian Coalition’s spokesperson has quoted vice president Mohammed Faruk Tayfur as saying the opposition delegation is planning to meet with Friends of Syria's foreign ministers in France on January 12, before going to Moscow where it wants to discuss with Russia its approach to the global peace conference on Syria.
He said the group was to make up its mind on whether it would be attend the conference based on the outcome of the Kremlin talks.
Earlier reports said the opposition group was expected to announce its decision on January 17, just days ahead of the Geneva-2 conference in the town of Montreux, Swizerland, which is slated for January 22.
Syrian National Coalition’s president Ahmad al-Jarba, who has recently been re-elected for a second term, was expected to come to Moscow on January 13-14. He is also planning to go to Paris on January 12 for a meeting of the US-led Friends of Syria group.
This comes ahead of the January 13 meeting between US and Russian foreign policy veterans, John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, who are to discuss the possibility of inviting Iran to the Syrian negotiating table, a Russian initiative staunchly opposed by Washington.
A Muslim Brotherhood member of the Coalition, Mr. Tayfur, was elected as one of al-Jarba’s three vice presidents earlier this week.
Russia has blocked the UN Security Council’s statement condemning the Syrian government attack on the major rebel stronghold of Aleppo. This is according to Reuters who has cited United Nations’ representatives today.
Diplomatic sources within the United Nations said the Russian delegation insisted on amending the text of the official message to remove any reference to the northern city of Aleppo. The council failed to reach common ground and the discussion ended in an impasse. Russia has not commented on the dispute.
On December 19, Russia also vetoed a draft statement on the recent bombardment of Aleppo that said the government’s armed forces targeted civilians with so-called “barrel bombs”, explosive-filled cylinders or oil barrels, often dropped from helicopters.
Human rights watchdogs claim that troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad had killed over 700 people and wounded some 3,000 in an aerial attack on Aleppo on December 15, although the Assad administration underscored the operation had targeted Aleppo-entrenched insurgents who control the major part of the city.
Voice of Russia, Interfax