Moscow to help Riyadh unite Syrian opposition groups

Russia is determined to help Saudi Arabia in the process of merging Syrian opposition groups, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said following talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the United Arab Emirates Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

“When Saudi Arabia came up with the initiative to merge the High Negotiations Committee that was established in Riyadh with the ‘Cairo’ and ‘Moscow’ opposition groups, we actively supported this initiative,” Lavrov said on Tuesday. “We will help our Saudi counterparts move in that direction in every possible way. We believe this is an inevitable move that will contribute to the beginning of meaningful and substantive negotiations on Syria’s future,” he added.

The minister stressed though that the Syrian opposition should renounce ultimatums. “It is necessary for the opposition to behave realistically and renounce the ultimatums, which do not fit into the rules that have been approved by the UN Security Council,” he said. “The UN Security Council decided that Syria’s fate should be determined by the Syrians themselves, there are no preconditions there.”

According to Lavrov, the government and the opposition need to sit down at the negotiating table and “begin discussing how they want to live in their own country in the future.”

The Russian minister also recalled the armed opposition, which recently confronted government forces but now is willing to maintain dialogue. “There is the armed opposition, which quite recently confronted the regime, and now this process has been replaced by the establishment of the de-escalation zones,” he noted. “Dialogue between the government and the armed opposition is being established.”