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article imageRussia skeptical West can get Syrian opposition to November talks

By Paul Iddon     Oct 1, 2013 in Politics
Russia has said it doubts that the Western powers will be able to get representatives of the Syrian opposition fighting to topple Assad to the international peace conference that is scheduled to transpire in mid-November.
Daily Star Lebanon carries a report which outlines how Russia's doubts stem from a remark made by the United Nations appointed envoy for Syria, Mr. Lakhdar Brahimi – Kofi Annan's successor, who said he was “not 100 percent certain” the opposition will have representatives at the table by that time.
He cited the lack of unity within the Syrian oppositions ranks when he said that, “Until recently we hoped our Western partners, who undertook to bring the opposition to the conference, could do it quite quickly, but they were unable to do it quickly, and I don't know whether they will be able to do so by mid-November.”
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also stressed that the United Nations Security Council powers will have these talks and organize to solve the Syrian crisis soon given the fact that “radicals and jihadists are strengthening their positions,” in Syria.
He added, “Regarding opposition representation – this remains to be settled. Until recently we have been relying on our Western partners who pledged to push the opposition to the negotiations table and we hoped they would manage it quickly. But so far they have not succeeded. And I am not sure they will by mid-November.”
Lavrov also said that as he sees it, “The task is to not lose any more time, and to bring to the negotiating table with the government those opposition groups that . . . think not about creating a caliphate in Syria or just seizing power and using it at their will, but about the fate of their country.”
Russia's own media network Russia Today also reported that Lavrov has stressed the importance of getting “rational members” of the opposition to negotiate saying that while the world powers are waiting for this upcoming conference “Jihadist elements of the opposition, like Al-Nusra Front and others, are gaining in strength.”
More about Russia, Syria, Peace talks, Lakhdar Brahimi, Sergei Lavrov
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