Russia always favors Syria talks, says speaker Matviyenko
Russia is always in favor of talks in any format, the speaker of Russia’s upper chamber of parliament said Monday, in reply to a question about a US plan for a meeting on Syria involving Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Jordan, agencies report.
“We are always for talks in any format and we believe that talks are very important for trust and confidence building and finding compromise,” Valentina Matviyenko told a news conference in Geneva.
Earlier, a source in Russia’s foreign ministry told Interfax news agency that Russia was considering the proposal from US Secretary of State John Kerry.
During a visit to Spain, Kerry said the US wants to avoid the “total destruction” of Syria.
He said everybody, including the Russians and the Iranians, say there is no military solution to the Syrian issue. So the way out is finding a political solution quickly to avoid a human catastrophe that threatens the integrity of a whole group of countries around the region, Kerry said.
If Russia, which has been conducting air strikes for the past three weeks in support of Syrian troops, is only there to “prop up” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, more militants will be drawn into the fight.
If, on the other hand, Russia helps Assad find a way to a political solution as well as fight Daesh (Islamic State) and extremism, there is the possibility of a very different path, he said.
Last week Washington refused to receive a Russian military delegation, headed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, to discuss coordinated action on the fight against terrorism in Syria, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin dubbed the decision of Washington’s “unconstructive” and apparently showing a lack of will to negotiate.
“I don’t really understand how our American partners can criticize Russia’s counterterrorism effort in Syria while refusing direct dialogue on the all-important issue of political settlement,” Putin explained.