Lavrov: Russia isn’t’ conducting any secret negotiations about Syria

Moscow, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov affirmed that Russia isn’t’ conducting any secret negotiations about Syria with any side in Geneva, saying that any talk of such things seeks to undermine intra-Syrian dialogue.

In a joint press conference with Chinese and Indian counterparts Wang Yi and Sushma Swaraj in Moscow on Monday, Lavrov said that Russia is conducting normal work consultations with the US in the framework of cooperation within the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), affirming that any allegations of secret talks between Russia and the US in Geneva seek to undermine efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and the Security Council resolution which states that the Syrians alone will determine Syria’s future.

The Minister said that Russia is working with the US to support and assist UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in organizing the Geneva track, particularly in terms of ensuring wide representation in the opposition delegation, noting that Russia is urging the US to convince Turkey to involve Syrian Kurds in the dialogue.

He stressed that the Syrian Arab Army isn’t violating the cessation of hostilities agreement as some sides claim; rather it is fighting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations near Aleppo with the assistance of the Russian Aerospace Forces, affirming that it isn’t targeting the factions that agreed to the cessation of hostilities.

Lavrov noted that there are large forces of ISIS and al-Nusra terrorists around Aleppo, and the two terrorist organizations are trying to improve their positions there, therefore they constitute a legitimate target for those who are fighting terrorism in Syria.

The Russian Minister said that Turkey is still carrying out aggression against Syria in various ways, voicing concern over the European Union’s lack of reaction to that.

He pointed out that the flow of terrorists to Syria continues despite Russian calls for the US to help close the Turkish-Syrian borders, adding that Turkey hasn’t given up its open attempts to interfere by force and keeps proposing new ideas on no-fly zones and “safe zones,” stressing that what raises concerns is that the EU isn’t objecting to Ankara’s ambitions which are merely attempts to cover up a direct Turkish aggression against Syria.

Hazem Sabbagh

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