16:29 GMT26 November 2020
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said Thursday that Moscow is against any links alleging political interests in the issue of aiding Syria and country's rebuilding efforts.

    "The principle difference of our position is that the help and assistance in the creation of conditions for accepting refugees and in the rebuilding of Syria should be provided beyond any political considerations. We are against linking this issue with political considerations and we have specifically stated this […] We have expressed our regret that the Syrian government has not been invited to this conference in Brussels; [this happens] not for the first time", Vershinin told reporters after attending the UN-sponsored Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.

    READ MORE: At Least One Civilian Injured in Terrorist Attack on Syria's Latakia — Reports

    "This may be considered nothing short of the violation of basic rights, including those of humanitarian assistance, which must be carried out in close coordination with the side that is receiving this assistance, which is the Syrian legitimate government in this case", the diplomat explained.

    Apart from being one of the guarantors of the ceasefire in Syria, Russia also assists Damascus in the postwar reconstruction of the country and the repatriation of refugees, and makes efforts to help ensure the settlement of the conflict in Syria at various international platforms.

    READ MORE: Syria Begins Reconstruction of UNESCO World Heritage Castle Near Homs

    The next Astana meeting on Syria has been tentatively planned for April on the level of deputy ministers, Vershinin said, adding that the specific dates of the talks were subject to further coordination among the participants.

    "We are yet tentatively scheduling the next high-level meeting on Syria to be held in Astana in April. The specific dates as subject to further coordination […] High-level [meeting] means on the level of deputy ministers, Vershinin told reporters in Brussels.

    Vershinin also said he had discussed the ways the Astana format talks on the Syrian reconciliation could be useful for advancing the Geneva consultations on Syria with UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen in Brussels.

    "Today, we have discussed, including during the detailed consultations with the UN secretary-general's special representative, Pedersen, the issues of Syrian settlement, from humanitarian support to the political process; the ways the Astana format could be useful in terms of advancing the talks and consultations in Geneva", Vershinin told reporters.

    Vershinin also noted progress in the process of forming the Syrian constitutional committee, stressing it could be completed in the near future.

    "I can say, without disclosing all the details of the ongoing diplomatic cooperation, that we have made significant advances on our way to complete the formation of the constitutional committee in the near future … I am optimistic about rapid, effective and fruitful conclusion of our joint work which will allow launching this committee",  Vershinin told reporters, adding that three Syrian ceasefire guarantor states were working on the committee formation in cooperation with the UN Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

    "I also met with US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey and with a number of delegations; all of them underlined the need for the soonest launch of such a constitutional committee and completing its formation", the Russian diplomat pointed out.

    READ MORE: US Intends to Provide $5Mln to White Helmets, UN Mechanism in Syria — State Dept

    Since 2011, Syria has been struggling with conflict, which left millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance, many of them displaced. Since the Syrian government has taken back the territory previously held by terrorists, the focus has shifted toward the rebuilding and return of refugees.


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