Moskow, 11 Dzulqa’dah 1434/17 September 2013 (MINA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Iran must be involved in the search for a settlement of the Syrian conflict.
         Speaking at a press conference after talks with his Egyptian counterpart Nabil Fahmy in Moscow on Monday, Lavrov welcomed the proposals for setting up the so-called Muslim Quartet of negotiators, comprised of Iran, Egypt, Turkey ,and Saudi Arabia, Press Tv quoted by MINA (Mi’raj News Agency)as reporting. 
        “I understand Saudi Arabia has somewhat distanced itself from this initiative shortly after it was launched. However, it is our deep conviction that it is critical-if the Syrian conflict is to be settled in a way that would make it stable and if it is to have a positive impact on the developments in the region, and not vice versa-it would be important to unite the efforts of the countries we have named: Egypt, as a major Arab nation, and Turkey and Iran, as major Muslim, but not Arab countries, playing major roles in the region,” Lavrov said. 
        He added, “It is my deep conviction that all of these countries, including Egypt, must be involved in efforts to forge a settlement.” 
        “Without their position taken into account, without due attention given to their concerns, it would be difficult to forge a sustainable solution. Therefore, we welcome all of these countries’ participation in the Geneva II conference, including Egypt,” the senior Russian diplomat pointed out. 
        Russia has frequently voiced its eagerness for Iran’s presence in the upcoming Geneva II conference on the ongoing crisis in Syria. 
        On August 12, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said that Russia hopes to negotiate Iran’s participation in the international conference with the United States. 
        On July 5, Gatilov said that Moscow believes that representatives of all Syrian parties, as well as neighboring countries and Iran, should attend the upcoming Geneva talks on the Syrian crisis. 
        On June 5, the Russian Foreign Ministry renewed Moscow’s call for Iran to be invited to the Geneva II talks. 
        “This is a matter of principle because the composition of the conference should be balanced,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said. 
         Bogdanov acknowledged Washington’s opposition to inviting Iran to the peace conference but insisted that Iran’s absence in the Geneva I talks last summer “was a mistake and it should not be repeated.” 
         On May 28, Lavrov emphasized the necessity of Iran’s attendance at the upcoming talks in Geneva. “The issue of Iran is key for us. Iran, without question, is one of the most important nations,” he said. 
         Syria has been gripped by deadly turmoil since 2011. 

        According to the United Nations, more than 100,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence.
Reports indicate that Western powers and their regional allies, especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey , are supporting the militants operating inside the country.


Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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