Lavrov to de Mistura: Military operation in Syria doesn’t mean forgetting about the political process

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that the Russian military operations in Syria, meant to boost effectiveness in the fight against terrorism, do not at all mean forgetting about the political process.

Lavrov was speaking to the UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura during a meeting on Tuesday.

“On the contrary, we record an increased urge for supporting our initiative,” said Lavrov.

He told de Mistura that he hoped to listen to the progress in the latter’s efforts regarding the political settlement to the crisis in Syria and what Russia could offer in help.

Lavrov expressed “deep concern” over some parties’ attempts to stall the formation of a wide front against terrorism and exploit de Mistura’s political mission.

He stressed that launching the political process as soon as possible in accordance with the general direction set by the international envoy goes with unifying all the peaceful forces in service of safeguarding Syria.

Yesterday, de Mistura announced in Geneva that he was heading to Moscow to hold talks on the latest Syrian developments after the start of the Russian air strikes against ISIS positions in Syria.

In another context and ahead of his talks with the UN Envoy, Lavrov condemned the terrorists’ shelling of the Russian Embassy in Damascus as an act of terror.

“This is an obvious act of terrorism, probably aimed at intimidating supporters of the fight against terrorism,” Lavrov was quoted as saying during a press conference with his Rwanda’s counterpart Louise Mushikiwabo in Moscow.

Two mortar shells were fired by terrorists at the building of the Russian Embassy during a demonstration where thousands of supporters gathered outside the embassy to thank Russia for its help in the fight against terrorism in Syria.

“Two mortar rounds hit the Russian Embassy compound in Damascus. Employees at the diplomatic mission were not hurt,” an Embassy employee told RIA Novosti news agency.

“We currently are working in cooperation with the Syrian authorities to identify those who are responsible for the shelling,” said Lavrov, noting that it is known that ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations are active in Damascus Countryside, in addition to the so-called “Jaish al-Islam”, which some media tend to call “moderate opposition”.

“These ‘moderate oppositions’ groups, as our data indicates and as confirmed by international observers, are involved more than others in randomly shelling Damascus residential neighborhoods, which claims people’s lives,” Lavrov said.

He told the reporters that Moscow is open to coordinating with the international players about the humanitarian situation and combating terrorism in Syria.

He expressed doubts that weapons and munitions supplied by the United States to the so-called “moderate Syrian opposition” will end up in terrorists’ hands, noting that Russia has only been receiving promises from its partners, since the start of its operation in Syria, to its request for information about whom to contact within the Syrian opposition that is opposed to terrorist means.

Lavrov called on the United States and other parties in the region to determine their position about the structure of the “opposition” delegation that is going to participate in the talks with the Syrian government for a political settlement proposed by de Mistura.

“We support de Mistura and will continue working with our American colleagues and partners in the region to implement the agreements that the main external players develop a common vision on who is going to participate in the Syrian-Syrian talks due to be held in Geneva based on de Mistura’s initiative,” said Lavrov.

Qabas/ H. Said

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