Vienna Meeting on Syria Concludes with Agreement on Steps to Launch Dialogue

14 November، 2015
Vienna, SANA

The second international meeting held in Vienna to discuss how to push forward with the political settlement of the crisis in Syria concluded its activities on Saturday evening.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, US State Secretary John Kerry, and UN Special Envoy on Syria Staffan de Mistura held a joint press conference following the meeting, in which Lavrov announced that the participants in the meeting have agreed on the main steps to launch the dialogue before January 2016, stressing that the Syrians themselves are the ones who will determine the nature of their future state and will conduct the political process.

He pointed out that there was common consensus on the lists of the terrorist groups that must be combated, and that Jordan was approached to help devise a unified list of terrorist organization and present it to the Security Council for approval.

Lavrov also noted that the parties agreed to boost efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrians and solve the refugee issue, reiterating the importance of Russia’s initiative for forming a large-scale international alliance against terrorism.

For his part, de Mistura said that the Syrian government has informed him of its approval to form a delegation to participate in dialogue, and now it’s the opposition’s turn to do the same, adding that there needs to be a ceasefire along with the launch of the political process, and that this wouldn’t include terrorist organizations.

In turn, Kerry said that the events which took place in Paris on Friday show that ISIS is a threat to everyone in the Middle East and beyond, and that this extremist organization cannot be defeated without ending the crisis in Syria which requires a political process.

He said that the participants in the meeting didn’t come to dictate to Syrians what they should do to decide their destiny, rather the opposite as the Syrians will be the ones who will undertake these efforts.

Kerry stressed the need for assistance from the international community in this regard, particularly on reaching a consensus on a political transitional process.

The second Vienna meeting on Syria was held earlier on Saturday with the participation of 19 states and international organizations. Besides Lavrov and Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif participated in the meeting, in addition to foreign ministers and deputies from the region and the world and representatives of the United Nations and European Union.

Two weeks ago, Vienna witnessed a similar meeting that came up with nine points that stress Syria’s unity, independence, and its secular identity, as well as the need for preserving its institutions and the rights of all the Syrians.

On a side note, de Misura, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, and Iranian Assistant Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdullahian held a tripartite meeting in Vienna in which they discussed the latest developments regarding Syria, with Abdullahian saying that double standards and dividing terrorism into “good and bad” leads to bitter repercussions in the region and the world, in reference to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut.

In the same context, Abdullahian said in a statement after the Vienna meeting that the participants focused on the need to step up counter-terrorism operations, and that the emphasis of the timetable regarding resolving the crisis in Syria focuses on ceasefire, asserting that the Syrian people must have the final say on any procedure related to their country.

Likewise, Lebanese Foreign and Expatriates Minister Gebran Bassil said in a speech at the Vienna meeting that resolving the crisis in Syria is a pressing necessity if ISIS and international terrorism are to be dealt real blows, stressing that the recent terrorist attacks in Lebanon in France are no coincidence and relay a message from terrorists that they can attack wherever they want and that they are not afraid of anyone.

He posed the question of whether this threatening message can be confronted by maintaining the status quo and arguing over details while danger looms over everyone’s head, asserting that clear steps that go beyond words are needed to show determination to fight terrorism.

Milhem / Mazen / H. Said / Hazem Sabbagh

Lavrov: Russia offered to discuss operation in Syria with US  but received no reply

VIENNA, November 14. /TASS/. Russia has proposed to the United States repeatedly that disputable issues related to the military activities in Syria be discussed but was answered with silence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Saturday.

Lavrov has said the disagreements are mutual but cooperation should be improved to battle terrorism effectively.

Lavrov disagrees with logic Assad is a source of all Syrian troubles

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has disagreed with the logic that Syria’s President Bashar Assad is a source of all troubles in that country.

“I cannot agree that Assad is the source of all this,” Lavrov said. “ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terrorist group – eds. TASS] … appeared ten years ago rather than three or four years ago. I am a little worried by the phrase John [Kerry] said that if Assad steps down, the regional nations will unite to defeat ISIL.”.

Tragedy in Paris

The tragedy in Paris has revealed that the nations’ positions on Syria’s President Bashar Assad’s future has no significance for terrorists.

“The UN Security Council has not once said in its resolutions that no justification to terrorism can be possible,” Lavrov said. “The terror attacks in Paris and the statement of the ISIL [former name of the Islamic State terrorist group – eds. TASS] claiming responsibility for them have showed – it does not matter whether you are for Assad or against him. You are an enemy for the ISIL and so Assad is not the point.”.

UN secretary general orders to draft plans on monitoring truce in Syria

VIENNA, November 14. /TASS/. The UN secretary general has ordered to draft plans of monitoring the truce in Syria.

“We have confirmed our determination to continue the work on creating conditions for a ceasefire and to do it in the context of a political process being launched,” Lavrov said. “We have received information from the UN secretary general that he issued instructions to his staff to draft plans of monitoring the eventual ceasefire on behalf of the UN.”.

Tragedy in Paris shows nations’ stances on Assad insignificant for terrorists

Lavrov has disagreed with the logic that Syria’s President Bashar Assad is a source of all troubles in that country, he told a joint news conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura on Saturday.

The examples of Iraq and Libya have proved that a withdrawal of the head of state fails to resolve the country’s problems.

“We had precedents with (Saddam) Hussein and (Muammar) al-Qaddafi,” Lavrov said.

“So I cannot agree that Assad is the source of all this,” Lavrov said. “ISIL (the former name of the Islamic State terrorist group – eds. TASS) … appeared ten years ago rather than three or four years ago. I am getting a little worried about the phrase John (Kerry) said that if Assad steps down, the regional nations will unite to defeat ISIL.”

“The UN Security Council has not once said in its resolutions that no justification to terrorism can be possible,” Lavrov said. “The terror attacks in Paris and the statement of the ISIL claiming responsibility for them have shown – it does not matter whether you are for Assad or against him. You are an enemy for ISIL and so Assad is not the point.”

Along with this, the Russian foreign minister pointed out that Kerry reminded of three goals U.S. President Barack Obama has articulated for that region.

“Goal number one is a fight against the Islamic State and other terrorists and only then stabilisation and a political process,” he said. “I am voting for this logic with both hands. And certainly, I can affirm everything we have agreed on today. But certain partners are keen on knotting together the struggle against terrorism and the progress in a political process.”

In the meantime, Lavrov said the tragedy in Paris had revealed that the nations’ positions on Syria’s President Bashar Assad’s future had no significance for terrorists.

US-led coalition capable of incapacitating IS illegal oil business

The U.S-led coalition is capable of incapacitating illegal oil business of the Islamic State terrorist group outlawed in Russia.

“Eventually, the U.S.-led coalition can incapacitate that illegal, criminal business,” Lavrov said. “We have again confirmed Russia’s readiness to coordinate our efforts against the IS with the U.S.-led coalition.”.

Demand for international coalition to battle terrorism is on the rise

The realisation is growing that a wide international coalition is much needed in the fight against terrorism and pre-conditions are inappropriate here.

“”It is quite evident that yesterday’s horrors in Paris have to convince even the last sceptic that nor can terrorism be justified but moreover our inaction in the fight against this evil cannot be justified with anything,” Lavrov said.

“There appears an impression that the realisation has been growing that the most effective and overwhelming international coalition – Putin was speaking about – should be created to battle the Islamic State and other terrorists,” he said. “No pre-conditions are appropriate here.”.

Islamic State, other terrorists to become common target

Islamic State, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups should become a common target and be destructed.

“The home assignment, which we gave one another at the meeting on October 30, was that we should have put terrorist organisations located in Syria on a unified and mutually comprehensible list,” Lavrov said. “We have reached consent that certainly, both Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra along with other terrorist groups should become our legitimate target and we should fight them till destruction.”

Along with this, Lavrov said that certain participants at the talks “outlined their views on terrorist groups’ list.”

“We have requested Jordan to help coordinate in making terrorist organisations’ unified list which would be acceptable for everybody and later on can be approved at the UN Security Council,” he said. “Russia will take an active part in the work. Recently, we have created the Russian-Jordanian informational centre in Jordan’s capital of Amman which will focus on the struggle against terrorism among other issues. We will use its opportunities.”.