“We urge all parties to actively engage in the work and abandon all preconditions in favor of searching for effective ways to reach a political settlement in Syria,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
On the intra-Syrian talks which will begin later Friday in Geneva, Zakharova noted that “a very important stage, hopefully, a turning point in the Syrian settlement, has been reached in the sense of searching for solutions and ways to achieve a peaceful settlement.”
The spokeswoman said the Syrian government delegation and representatives of Syrian opposition groups formed at meetings in Moscow and Cairo have arrived in Geneva for talks.
But Zakharova added she had no information on whether other Syrian opposition groups formed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had declared readiness to start working.
She said terrorist organizations like Saudi-backed militant group Islam Army, or Jaish al-Islam, and Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist rebel movement that has close ties with Turkey, should not take part in the talks.
Zakharova said Russian experts on the issue are also in Geneva.
On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the top diplomats of Russia and the United States agreed to organize a meeting of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) in Munich on Feb. 11 to discuss the Syrian crisis.
The upcoming intra-Syrian talks will start with “proximity” talks and are expected to last six months, with government and opposition delegations sitting in separate rooms and U.N. officials shuttling between them.
The talks stem from an agreement reached in Vienna in November by the ISSG, which comprises the Arab League, the European Union, the United Nations and 17 countries including the United States, Russia and China. Enditem