Moscow: Lavrov could meet with both sides of Moscow forum on Syria on Wednesday

Moscow, SANA – Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the meetings on the crisis in Syria aim at providing an avenue for discussion among all Syrian sides, noting all the participating parties agree on the necessity of establishing peace and combating terrorism in Syria.

In a press conference on Monday, Lavrov said that the inter-Syrian meetings, which are held in Moscow on Monday and Tuesday with the participation of representatives of various opposition factions, aren’t talks, as these meetings seek to provide an avenue and a forum for discourse and discussions with representatives of the Syrian government who will join the meetings, with the goal of establishing direct contact.

He noted that there are no set tasks or goals for this meeting; rather it’s merely an effort to reinvigorate dialogue without conditions to pave the way towards resolving the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov stressed that Russia will continue its efforts along with Egypt and other countries that are interested in resolving the crisis in Syria peacefully, with the aim of creating conditions that permit launching comprehensive dialogue sponsored by the UN.

Meanwhile, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Lavrov could participate in a meeting that would bring together representatives of the Syrian government and the “opposition” on Wednesday in Moscow.

Bogdanov, who is the Russian President’s Special Representative for the Middle East and Africa Affairs, told journalists in the Russian capital that if all the participants invited to the forum on both sides come to meet together, and there are constructive talks, then a meeting with the Foreign Minister could be planned.

He pointed out that 28 representatives of the “opposition” groups have arrived in Moscow so far. Those have already started consultations.

Sources in Moscow say that the meetings have been referred to as a forum because they are consultative meetings that could pave the way for a dialogue to be convened later in Moscow or Damascus. That depends on the outcomes of the meetings between the government and the opposition delegations, which start on Wednesday.

On Sunday, Lavrov and U.S. State Secretary John Kerry discussed in a phone call the situation in Syria and means to resolve the crisis in it in light of the Moscow inter-Syrian meeting.

Rasha Milhem/Haifa Said / Hazem Sabbagh

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