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Russian initiative 'serious step' to solve Syrian crisis

Published: 25 Feb 2015 23:50:23 PST

Russian initiative 'serious step' to solve Syrian crisis

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (R) meets Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Damascus December 10, 2014 in this picture released by Syria's national news agency SANA. [Photo/Agencies]

DAMASCUS -- Russia's recent efforts to hold a dialogue bringing together representatives of the Syrian government and opposition parties have been deemed positive towards figuring out a political solution to the country's long-running conflict, according to Syrian politicians.

"The Russian initiative or ideas that have been put forward recently are good for discussions and even for implementation and thus Syria hasn't closed the door before them," Sharif Shehadeh, a Syrian legislator, told Xinhua on Wednesday.

Earlier in the day, the state news agency SANA cited official Russian media as stating that a four-day meeting is scheduled to be held between representatives of the Syrian government and opposition parties in Moscow by the end of January.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told ITAR-TASS that the opportunities to resume dialogue on the crisis in Syria were being improved, expressing optimism to launch a dialogue between the Syrians.

"I think that we must welcome any initiative that could eventually serve the interest of the Syrian people and help uproot terrorism," Shehadeh said, noting that such dialogue would expose the real intentions of the opposition.

However, he lashed out at the western-backed opposition parties in exile, who emerged single-minded on changing the regime in Syria as a prelude to any solution to the crisis.

The Syrian government regards the stubbornness of the exiled opposition as the major hindrance to reach a political solution in previous internationally-backed conferences and meetings, namely the Geneva meetings which were held earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Anas Joudeh, deputy head of the oppositional Building Syria State Party, told Xinhua that the Russian initiative reflects the seriousness of Moscow towards reaching a political solution to the Syrian crisis.


Russian initiative 'serious step' to solve Syrian crisis

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov (R) is welcomed by Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad upon his arrival in Damascus December 10, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

"The Russian leadership seems serious about building a political solution to the Syrian crisis and this seemed obvious during the several meetings held with the Syrian opposition parties by Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov who had also held meetings with the Syrian government," Joudeh said.

Bogdanov made a visit to Damascus this month, where he met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a number of Foreign Ministry officials as well as opposition figures.

During his meeting with Bogdanov, Assad said his administration was dealing positively with the Russian efforts to find solutions to the crisis engulfing his country.

Assad stressed his country's support for any Russian-backed diplomatic effort, agreeing with Bogdanov that any initiative to solve the Syrian crisis demands "serious" efforts to counter terrorism and radicalism in the region by exercising real pressures from the international community against the countries that support terrorism.

After meeting Assad, Bogdanov was quoted as saying that he "was in contact with our American partners" regarding Russia's fresh efforts to hold Syrian dialogue.

"If Syrians want to meet in Moscow, then we will discuss this issue with the US side and others," Bogdanov was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti earlier this month.

"We have proposed that the Syrians come to Moscow to discuss political possibilities to resolve the crisis," he added.

Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haidar also pointed out the need for an international consensus in order for the Russian initiative to be successful.

"Without doubt, the Russian initiative basically constitutes a vision whose details have yet to be finished, but it could be an introduction for launching a political solution," Haidar told Xinhua in a recent interview.

For his part, Joudeh, the opposition figure, said "the Syrian opposition forces should seriously work on this initiative by putting forward their visions about a political solution in Syria, " adding that "the meeting with the Syrian government officials in Moscow should be a negotiation on clear and specified titles."


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