Press release on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s talks with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura
On February 16, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held talks in Moscow with the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura ahead of the upcoming intra-Syrian talks in Geneva under the aegis of the UN, scheduled for February 23.
In continuation of previous discussions held during regular contacts, they exchanged views on a whole range of issues pertaining to the Syrian settlement. In this context, they stressed the importance of the “Astana process” launched under the auspices of Russia, Turkey and Iran between the Syrian government and the armed opposition.
The Russian side reiterated that the intra-Syrian talks should proceed strictly within the parameters outlined by UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which stipulate, among other things, maximally inclusive and equal participation of various segments of the Syrian opposition. Unless all opposition groups, including the Moscow, Cairo, Astana and Khmeimim groups as well as the Kurds, are properly represented, it is impossible to expect the next Geneva round to be a success. It was emphasised that repeating past mistakes, in which support for only one radical external opposition group left the negotiating process frozen since April 2016, would be unacceptable.
Mr de Mistura held separate consultations with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov.