5 June 2013, 16:35

Kurdish people must be represented at all international meetings on Syria - Kurdish official

29.04.2012 Сирия курды

As Russia and the US seek to set the date for highly-anticipated Syria peace conference in Geneva, Moscow was visited by a delegation of the Supreme Council of the Kurds of Syria headed by speaker of the Council Ahmed Suleiman. In an exclusive interview with the Voice of Russia Mr. Suleiman discussed the topics the Council discussed with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and the current status of Kurds in Syria.

Mr. Ahmed Suleiman, during your visit you carried out meetings at the Russian Foreign Ministry. What can you tell us about these meetings and their results?

It’s not the first time that representatives of the Supreme Council of the Kurds of Syria visit Moscow. We have been here before, held consultations, including with the employees of the Russian Foreign Ministry. But now it was the first official meeting held at the invitation of the MFA of Russia, and it opens a new stage of relations between the Supreme Council of the Kurds of Syria and the Russian Foreign Ministry. It is especially important for us to build relations with those who can and want to help in resolving the Syrian crisis. And Russia, as is well known, has special historical relations with Syria. Syria’s modern economy, as well as the Syrian army, was built with Soviet assistance. Today, Russia is very important to Syria. However, Russia's interests in the region are connected not only to Syria. That is why we need to bring the position of the Syrian Kurds to Russia’s attention, and we hope that our visit has played a role in this.

Who did you meet with and what topics did you discuss?

We met with Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Mikhail Bogdanov. He wanted to hear our assessment of what is going on in Syria today. We talked about what the Kurds can do in order to resolve the Syrian crisis, about the relations between the Kurds and the Syrian opposition, and also about the Syrian Kurds’ level of contact with various international parties.

The central place in our conversation was dedicated to the preparation for the second Geneva conference on Syria. We have made clear our position on this direction. What is its essence? We unconditionally support the decision to organize an international meeting aimed at fully discussing the problems of Syria and advancing towards a political solution. The Supreme Council of the Kurds of Syria is a part of the opposition, but it is not included in any of the already existing oppositional blocks or associations. As is well known, the Syrian opposition is not united, it is divided into a lot of big and small blocks, and none of them represents the interests of the Kurds of Syria. That is why here in Moscow we talked about the fact that only the Supreme Council of the Kurds of Syria can and must represent the Syrian Kurds at all international meetings on the future of Syria.

You have rightly noted the important role Russia played in Syriaduring all the past decades. The result of this close contact was the fact that Russia, better than many others, is aware of the essence of the problems faced by the Syrian Kurds. Now, during this visit, did you feel some changes in the views of Moscow on the Syrian Kurds’ problems and their rights?

I think that if there are changes in Moscow's position concerning the Kurdish issue in Syria, they are not radical. Russia is really well aware of our problems. If we talk about the role of Russia, it is very important not only in Syria. Russia is a great power, and we want to develop relations with it. And I believe that as our role within Syria is increasing, Russian approaches and views on the Kurdish issue in Syria will take these changes into account.

Before your arrival to Moscow, many wrote and stated that Russia would surely want to persuade you to chum up with the so-called “internal” Syrian opposition, and even to do so before the meeting in Geneva. What can you say about it? Was this topic discussed in Moscow?

Certainly, in the framework of the preparation for the Geneva meeting Russia will work out a format of discussions that it considers to be the most productive. And Russia has every right to do so. And if Russia's position is useful to us, Kurds, and contributes to the creation of a democratic Syria, then why should we be against this position? Any efforts aimed at resolving the crisis in Syria and supporting the Kurdish people and its legitimate rights are important to us, be it Russia or any other country. The United States also sticks to its interests, and when it comes into contact with us, it also wants us to accept its position. This is also true about Europe. As for us, we will only proceed from the interests of the Syrian Kurds and Syria as a whole.

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