Russia has once again stressed that Iran should be part of a solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin made the remarks following a Thursday meeting between the members of the UN Security Council and UN’s Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on the Syrian conflict.
De Mistura plans to set up a “group of friends” in an effort to find political ways to end the war, Churkin said.
Russia noted that Iran and Saudi Arabia as two influential regional players must be included in the group, he added.
The envoy also noted that his country is open to cooperate with the UN in ending the conflict.
“We intend to participate very actively and call for [de Mistura] to continue his work together with us,” Churkin said, adding, “Russia is ready to work in other formats.”
On October 27, Russia’s foreign minister also stressed the role of Iran and Saudi Arabia in efforts to end the Syria crisis, saying it will be a “great mistake” to exclude the two states from any future talks on the issue.
The top Russian diplomat also hailed de Mistura’s visit to Iran earlier this month as part of efforts to revive the stalled peace process.
“We consider it to be a great mistake to exclude countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia from the list of negotiators,” Lavrov stated, adding, “All Syrian neighbors without exception should be represented at the negotiating table.”
Referring to the collapse of previous rounds of talks on Syria amid the absence of key regional powers, Lavrov said “the principle of inclusiveness should be applied not only to the Syrian participants in the process but also to external players.”
Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fuelled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of nearly 200,000 people, according to reports.
In early 2014, two rounds of international talks were held in Switzerland in an effort to find a political solution to the turmoil in Syria. However, the Russian-US proposed negotiations, known as Geneva II, failed to bear fruit amid the absence of influential regional players, particularly Iran.