18 Feb 2021 21:14

Lavrov, UN envoy see no alternative to political settlement of Syria crisis

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen met on Thursday to discuss the entire spectrum of problems related to Syria, and they agreed that there is no alternative to a political solution to the crisis in that country, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"A common opinion was voiced that there is no alternative to a political solution to the Syria crisis within the framework of a process led and carried out by the Syrians themselves, based on respect for sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of the SAR, as is envisioned by UN Security Council Resolution 2254," it said.

The parties substantively discussed the entire range of problems pertaining to Syria, including the situation on the ground in that country, the provision of comprehensive humanitarian aid, and the improvement of the socioeconomic situation, the ministry said.

Lavrov and Pedersen attached special significance to the work of the Constitutional Committee, whose fifth meeting took place in Geneva at the end of January. In addition, they analyzed the outcomes of the 15th international meeting on Syria in the Astana format in Sochi on February 16-17, it said.

The diplomats also exchanged opinions on the humanitarian situation in Syria, with an emphasis placed on the need to mobilize comprehensive support to Syrians in need on the entire territory of the country, without discrimination, politicization, and preconditions, which would definitely facilitate the voluntary and worthy return of refugees and internally displaced persons.

"Russia expressed its support for the UN secretary-general's call for relaxing unilateral sanctions, including those imposed on Syria in circumvention of the UN Security Council, amid the coronavirus pandemic," it said.

The ministry said later on Thursday that Pedersen also met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov.

Pedersen and Bogdanov continued the substantive conversation the UN envoy had with Lavrov before on the importance of the consolidation of international efforts to facilitate a settlement in Syria based on UN Security Council Resolution 2254.

"They clarified some aspects of the functioning of multilateral formats aimed at helping find efficient solutions in ensuring Syria's unity, territorial integrity, and sovereignty," it said.

The latter meeting was arranged at Pedersen's request, the ministry said.