The first delegation will represent the National Coordinating Committee and the other – opposition groups. It would be premature to give its name,” he said.
Mikhail Bogdanov added that nothing new is happening in military-technical cooperation between Moscow and Damascus, but the contracts signed earlier will be fulfilled.
“Russia is a responsible partner under the contracts and agreements signed. I don’t see any special problems here, the more so since these shipments were needed to strengthen Syria’s air defense. They have nothing to do with Syria’s domestic conflict,” Bogdanov told the media on Monday. Asked whether other weapons besides S-300 and Yakhont missile systems could be exported to Syria, he said, “There is nothing new, I believe.”
Russian, U.S, and UN representatives will meet for a second time in Switzerland on Tuesday to prepare a new international conference on Syria, Geneva-2.
Russia will be represented by deputy foreign ministers Gennady Gatilov and Mikhail Bogdanov, the U.S. by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones, and the UN by Under Secretary General Jeffery Feldman and special envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi.
The first meeting was held in Geneva on June 5.
Gatilov earlier told reporters that Russia was committed to the idea of calling the Geneva-2 conference.
A summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations was held in Lough Erne, UK, last week, where the Russian and American presidents met and pledged to accelerate preparations for the Geneva conference on Syria. This issue was also discussed in talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The G8 leaders passed a joint communique after the summit which proposed forming an interim government in Syria. They also said that the Syrian authorities and the fighting opposition should oust Al Qaeda militants from Styria, as well as groups linked to the international terrorist network.
Diplomats from Russia and the US, as well as UN representatives will meet in Geneva again today to discuss preparations for an international conference on Syria. Russia will be represented by Deputy Foreign Ministers Mikhail Bogdanov and Gennady Gatilov atthe talks in the Palace of Nations, where the Geneva Department of the UN is situated.
The head of the US delegation will be Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. Special representative of the UN and the League of Arab States LakhdarBrahimi will take part in the tripartite meeting on the part of the UN.
The first round of tripartite consultations between the same participants took place in Geneva on the 5th of June but then the participants did not manage to come to an agreement on all points and to appoint the date of a conference meant to launch the process of peace settlement in Syria. The two main points on which they failed to come to an agreement are in which format the opposition should be represented and what countries should be invited.
As it became clear from Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s recent announcements, differences on these issues have not been overcome until now.
The main stumbling block is whether Iran should be invited to the meeting. Russia is positive on this issue and the US and other western countries hold the contrary opinion. Sergey Lavrov stressed that all Syria’s neighbours should be invited, Iran included. He said that this is important for the success of an all-embracing peace process.
As for the Syrian opposition’s participation in the conference, Moscow is convinced that the West does not cope with the task of persuading Bashar al-Assad’s enemies to sit down to talks. If the Syrian government has already expressed readiness to participate in the international conference in accordance with the Russian-US initiative, the National Coalition and some other Syrian oppositional groups have still not confirmed their intention to participate in this forum without any preliminary conditions, as Russia and the US appealed in Moscow on the 7th of May.
Earlier Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia would like to understand if the US is consistent in the implementation of the idea of convening a conference on Syria. The US activities at the UN General Assembly or the UN Human Rights Council that promote absolutely unilateral resolutions send the wrong message to the Syrian opposition. The same refers to the idea of setting up a no-fly zone, Lavrov said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry finds it dangerous to send more weapons to the Syrian opposition and warns that this could spur a military option which would be fatal for Syria. Meanwhile, the decision to urgently send weapons to the armed radical opposition was made at the recent session of the Friends of Syria group in Doha on the 21st of June.
According to the UN data, all in all 93,000 people died in Syria as a result of the conflict. Over 1.6mln people have become refugees. The UN estimates that half of the country’s 20mln- population would need assistance before the end of this year and 3.5mln of them would leave the country.
Moscow intends to comply fully with their obligations under the previously concluded contracts for the supply of arms Syria. This was stated by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
He stressed that Russia in this case, “is acting as a responsible partner in the contracts,” and that “the supplies have no relation to the internal Syrian conflict.”
On Tuesday the deputy minister also said that along with his colleague Gennady Gatilov he will hold talks in Geneva with representatives of two groups of the Syrian opposition.
The meetings will be held to discuss preparations for the international conference on Syria. Also on the same day there will be a bilateral meeting between Russia and the U.S.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, RIA, TASS