Lavrov: De Mistura confirmed intra-Syrian dialogue will resume in first quarter of March

Geneva, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday that UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura affirmed to him that intra-Syrian dialogue will resume in the first quarter of March.

Following his meeting with de Mistura, Lavrov said that Russia and its UN partners have a positive evaluation of the cessation of hostilities in Syria, adding that despite the occurrence of isolated breached, UN partners and other partners of Russia aren’t inclined to exaggerate them.

He also said that Russia is satisfied over the work of Russian military personnel in Russia, and that he shares the UN’s relief over the delivery of good and medicine to the people who need them and the signs showing that all sides support launching a true dialogue process that includes all Syrians.

Back on Friday, de Mistura announced that he intends to resume intra-Syrian dialogue talks in Geneva on March 7th.

Lavrov: Syria’s future decided by Syrians, terrorists have no place in political solution

Earlier on Tuesday, in a speech at the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council held in Geneva, Lavrov reiterated that Syria’s future will be decided by the Syrians themselves without foreign interference, stressing the necessity of closing the border of Syria with Turkey to cut off the funding sent to ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organizations through these borders.

Lavrov said that the comprehensive solution for the humanitarian situation in Syria and rebuilding it can be achieved only by ensuring a lasting ceasefire and commencing a truly inclusive intra-Syrian dialogue on the future of Syria, which should be determined by the Syrians themselves without interference from outside.

He noted that these goals stem from the UN Security Council decisions adopted in support of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG), on which Russian Vladimir Putin and US Presidents Barack Obama have agreed.

“Naturally, neither the ceasefire accords nor the process of the political settlement have any place for terrorists and extremists whose ideology and practice are incompatible with the principles of the existence of the human civilization,” Lavrov said, asserting that inflicting a decisive defeat on ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra and similar groups is an inviolable condition for ensuring the rights of the peoples of Syria, Iraq, and the Middle East.

He also said that one of the major priorities of the UN is to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to all areas in Syria, stressing that human rights mustn’t be used as an excuse to interfere in states’ internal affairs and destabilize them.

Lavrov: Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons couldn’t prevent terrorists from using chemical weapons in Syria

Also on Tuesday, Lavrov said in a speech at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) held in Geneva that the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons couldn’t prevent terrorists from using weapons in Syria, stressing the need for exerting joint efforts to address loopholes that allow armed groups to use chemicals for terrorist purposes.

He called for working to prevent WMDs from falling into the hands of terrorists and “non-state actors,” and also called for taking steps to confront the threat of chemical terrorism, adding that this has become “extremely pressing in the light of emerging evidence confirming the repeated use of not only toxic industrial chemicals but also full-fledged chemical warfare agents by gunmen of ISIS and other terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq.”

Lavrov pointed out that the activities of “non-state actors” in the Middle East and North Africa are becoming more widespread, systematic and transboundary, threatening to extend far beyond the region, adding that there’s information about terrorist groups getting access to scientific and technical documentation for the production of chemical weapons, seizing chemical enterprises with the appropriate equipment, and using foreign experts in mastering the synthesis of chemical warfare agents.

He referred to the incidents which took place in the Syrian city of Marea in August, where terrorists from ISIS used artillery shells stuffed with mustard gas, stressing that this leaves no room for doubt that chemical terrorism is becoming not just an abstract threat but a harsh reality, which can and should be stopped by intensifying serious work on international venues.

Hazem Sabbagh

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