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Russia Urges Syrian Opposition to Prioritize Relief, Refugees

Russia Urges Syrian Opposition to Prioritize Relief, Refugees

Wednesday, 6 March, 2019 - 12:00
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Moscow is keen to continue coordination with concerned parties to speed up the formation of the constitutional committee in Syria, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, while giving priority to the return of displaced people and relief work.


His remarks were made following a series of meetings held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.


Lavrov concluded his visit on Tuesday by holding talks with head of the opposition Syrian High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Naser al-Hariri.


“We expect responsible opposition members to speak in favor of assistance by the international community to the Syrians not only in the form of humanitarian help but also by creating basic conditions - water supply, electric power supply and educational and medical services,” Lavrov said.


“This would make it possible for the refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes,” he stressed.


The opposition delegation with Hariri included deputy head of the HNC Jamal Suleiman, head of Foreign Relations’ Office Badr Jamous, Secretary Safwan Akash, representative of the Kurdish National Council Ibrahim Berro and member of the “Moscow platform” political grouping Alaa Arafat.


“Lavrov affirmed his country's support for the political process and the implementation of resolution 2254 under the UN auspices,” HNC member Dr. Yahya Aridi told Asharq Al-Awsat in a phone call.


Lavrov also invited the HNC to visit Moscow to discuss all matters and carry out consultations on all unsolved issues, he added.


He pointed out that the meeting tackled the political process, the constitutional committee, the safe and neutral environment that contributes to achieving political transition and paving the way for a safe and dignified return of refugees, as well as efforts to combat terrorism.


According to Aridi, Hariri spoke with Lavrov about violations in Idlib, stressing the importance of protecting citizens while maintaining the Sochi deal on the city.


Lavrov then traveled to Kuwait to hold talks with officials on bilateral relations, the Syrian crisis and the fight against terrorism.


Before his departure, he described his country's relations with the Gulf country as “genuinely friendly” and based on equality, mutual respect and constructive cooperation.


In an interview to the Kuwaiti news agency, KUNA, Lavrov said his meetings will include detailed discussion on the situation in Syria, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the situation in war-torn areas in the region.


He stressed that they will focus on prospects of resolving these disputes through political and diplomatic means, based on international law and through comprehensive national dialogue.


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