UN Syria envoy to meet Russian foreign minister in Moscow

Russia's Foreign Minister and UN Syria envoy to meet in Moscow to discuss political solution for Syrian crisis

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. REUTERS Photo

Updated Nov 4, 2015

Russian media outlets reported on Tuesday that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura will meet at the Russian capital Moscow on Wednesday. 

"The main theme is the political process in Syria, the start of real dialogue between Damascus and opposition," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to Russian TASS news agency.

Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said that his country is preparing talks between Syrian government officials and opposition members in Moscow within the next week.

Later on Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry announced it will call some opposition members to Russia within the next week for negotiations.

Russia has been one of the main allies of the Syrian regime and its leader Bashar al Assad since the four-year-long war in Syria started.

Russia also launched an aerial campaign on September 30, mainly targeting Syrian rebels’ positions despite the initially claims to attack DAESH.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, Turkish Foreign Ministers, their Saudi counterpart along with Western diplomats gathered with Russia and its regional supporters, including Iran for talks over Syria’s future in Vienna last week.

Tehran and Moscow are crucial supports to Assad's government while Turkey, the US, Saudi Arabia, and their Western and Gulf allies are against the Syrian regime.

On Oct. 20, Bashar al Assad arrived in Moscow - as his first abroad visit since 2011 - in a surprise visit to “personally thank Russian President Vladimir Putin for his military support,” as the transcript of their meeting that was published on the Kremlin website quoted.

De Mistura had previously attempted to provide initiatives in Syria and Geneva by meeting the parties of the Syrian war, including regime officials, opposition leaders, civil society and representatives of governments in the region that influenced the war in Syria.

Though some opposition parties boycotted the talks, de Mistura attempted to provide plans to reach a ceasefire and to discuss the humanitarian situation in Syria; in particular the besieged and war-affected people, but his efforts were unpolitic.

The opposition has said that the basic condition to sit on the table over negotiations with regime representatives is the departure of Assad, which Russia has refused, so far.

In June 2012, a peace meeting was initiated by then UN peace envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan.

Peace talks were held with the attendance of the then US secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, alongside representatives from China and Britain.

The conference agreed on a transitional government in which Assad is not in power, but Russia refused the idea immediately. Russia still insists on the inclusion of Assad in any solution for the Syrian crisis.

Later on January 22 2014, UN backed peace talks - in cooperation by the United States and Russia - were held in Geneva between the Syrian opposition and Assad’s representatives.

The talks were pursued by the UN peace envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.

The UN estimates the death toll in Syria, since the war started, to be at least 250,000, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights states that the number have now reached 250,000.

A further estimate of 350,000 refugees have sought asylum in European Union countries since the war began in Syria in 2011.

About 4 million others took refuge in neighbouring countries of Turkey, Leabanon, Iraq and Egypt, with Turkey hosting the largest group with over 2 million.

Thousands are still pushing towards EU countries which caused a global refugee crisis urging for an urgent solution in Syria.

Thousands of those refugees who are travelling illegally had drowned or died on the way to a better life. The refugee influx into European countries has been described by The UN High Commissioner for Refugees as the highest “dilemma” in a generation.


TRTWorld and agencies