Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday that contacts were underway with Washington to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Syrian crisis.
In a joint news conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al Sabah, Lavrov said that talks with the Syrian opposition in Riyadh were constructive and fruitful, underlining the need to work in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolution, which guarantees intra-Syrian dialogue and is the basis of the political process.
“We call on the Syrian authorities to work on the return of Syrian refugees and the delivery of humanitarian aid,” he said, highlighting talks with the US side to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Syrian crisis.
Lavrov arrived in Kuwait on Tuesday, the third leg of his Gulf tour, which has already taken him to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait before heading to the UAE. Observers said that the Syrian crisis and ways to bring back Damascus to the Arab League dominate the talks.
Sheikh Sabah bin Khaled, for his part, said his country would be “very happy” with the return of Syria to the “Arab family”, referring to reports about the possibility of Damascus’ reintegration in the League of Arab States.
This position represents a relative shift in Kuwaiti policy, which had earlier stressed that Syria’s exit from the Arab League was an Arab decision and its return can only be decided by the League itself.
The Kuwaiti foreign minister went on to say Syria was a founding country of the Arab League, “a pivotal state in the region.”
Kuwait will be “very happy” with “the start of the political process… and the return of Syria to its Arab family,” he emphasized.
In the UAE, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, underlined his country’s keenness that Syria regain an Arab role at the political and security levels, despite the UAE’s disagreement with the Syrian government’s approach in many internal files.
“We are now facing an increasing Turkish and Iranian influence and the absence of the Arab role. We believe that this absence is unacceptable,” he said during a joint news conference with Lavrov on Wednesday.
He revealed ongoing cooperation with Russia and others to discuss containing Syria, so that it will be part of the Arab region.
In Moscow, reports said that Lavrov was seeking to persuade Arab countries to normalize relations with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, and to work to accelerate the return of Syria to take up its seat in the Arab League.
Russian sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Moscow was interested in activating the debate on normalization, in addition to its desire to revive discussions with the Gulf countries on the reconstruction file in Syria and to create conditions for the return of the Syrian refugees to their homeland.