01-02-2023 05:09 PM Jerusalem Timing

Iran Absence from Geneva 2 "Unforgivable Mistake": Lavrov

Iran Absence from Geneva 2

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said absence of Iran from this week’s peace talks on the Syrian crisis would be an "unforgivable mistake".

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said absence of Iran from this week's peace talks on the Syrian crisis would be an "unforgivable mistake".

"Not to ensure the presence at this event of all those who may directly influence the situation, I think, would be an unforgivable mistake," Lavrov told a televised press briefing.

"So I fully support the responsible and principled approach by UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon), who sent an invitation to those countries that influence the situation, including the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Lavrov added the Iran's absence would make the talks that are due to start on Wednesday in the Swiss city of Montreux a "sham".

The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced he had invited Iran to attend Syria international peace conference. In response, Syria’s foreign-backed opposition threatened to boycott the talks.

But Lavrov said the opposition's absence from the talks would signal that it was not interested in negotiating an end to the nearly three-year conflict.
"The National Coalition group was created by outside sponsors, and we are not against the coalition's participation in Geneva II," Lavrov said.

"We welcomed its decision to send its delegation to the Montreux conference. But we must understand the overall alignment of forces," he added.

"And if someone calls into question the need to invite to Geneva II all the influential players, then this someone is not interested in a just settlement through negotiations of the Syrian crisis."