Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s opening remarks at talks with Ahmad Jarba, the leader of Syria’s Tomorrow Movement, Moscow, June 22, 2017
I am glad to have this opportunity to meet with you again. Meetings are always useful. We are aware of your efforts to promote a settlement at all stages in the Syrian crisis, including rally the opposition forces on the principles of patriotism.
These efforts are fully in line with the decision of the international community that the Syrian people themselves must decide the future of their country. To achieve this goal, they must come to an agreement with each other. We now see healthy processes ongoing in various groups of the Syrian opposition. This means your efforts have had a decisive influence on many Syrians who care for the future of their country. The representatives of the so-called external opposition, who have been acting through ultimatums and preconditions and who mostly advocated the interests of their foreign sponsors rather than Syrians, are losing their sway. At the same time, the influence of those who stand for launching an intra-Syrian dialogue as soon as possible is growing. We are trying to promote these sentiments by accelerating the Astana process and supporting UN efforts to boost the Geneva talks.
It is also important that the intra-Syrian dialogue, the ceasefire, the creation of de-escalation zones that have been proposed in Astana and normalisation in Syria are the necessary conditions for moving from confrontation between the pro-government forces and the armed opposition to cooperation and hence the joint fight against terrorism.
Activities in Astana and Geneva will resume very soon, when the holy month of Ramadan is over. We look forward to hearing your views on the best possible way to attract probable partner opposition forces to promote a settlement in Syria.