Russia keeps calling for an international conference to be held on Syria, with all interested parties participating on the basis of agreements reached earlier in Geneva, a deputy Russian foreign minister said on Monday.
“We offer Moscow [as the venue for the conference], if someone likes Geneva or Paris, we have no objections,” Mikhail Bogdanov said. “The key thing is to launch that process as quickly as possible.”
On Sunday and Monday Bogdanov held talks with representatives of the Syrian opposition and the French authorities in Paris. During the talks, Bogdanov insisted that the peace plan drafted by the former UN and Arab League Envoy Kofi Annan and the agreements reached in Geneva in June should be implemented.
At a meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30, foreign ministers from UN Security Council permanent member states and from countries neighboring Syria proposed establishing a transitional Syrian government that would comprise both the Syrian authorities and opposition forces, but incessant fighting in Syria has made it impossible to launch a dialogue.
The Syrian conflict has claimed up to 20,000 lives according to estimates by various Syrian opposition groups. The West is pushing for President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster while Russia and China are trying to prevent outside interference in Syria, saying that the Assad regime and the opposition are both to blame for the bloodshed.