Russia proposes including Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia in ‘action group’ on Syria (UPDATE)
The details were added (the first version was posted at 12:50)
Moscow stands for expanding the format of 'an action group' in Syria, as well as at the expense of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told RIA Novosti today.
"Of course, we still believe that one can expand this format of an action group on Syria at the expense of other influential external players," he said. "Here I would mention Saudi Arabia and some neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, even though it was represented in the 'action group', Egypt and Iran."
Bogdanov said that while convening an 'action group' for the first time, Moscow assumed that the more powerful external forces will be on the same platform with us and the better will be our efforts to end the bloody confrontation in Syria.
"It was important to achieve broad international agreement at the initial stage and then attract representatives of the Syrian government and the opposition," he said.
Heads of the UN and the Arab League, foreign ministers of Russia, the U.S., Great Britain, China, France, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and EU diplomacy attended the meeting of an 'action group' on Syria in Geneva in June 2012. An 'action group' at this meeting determined the guidelines for political changes in the Arab country damaged by clashes between the government and the armed opposition since March 2011.
Anti-government protests have continued in Syria for more than a year and half. According to UN, the total number of victims of the conflict in Syria exceeds 70,000. More than 230,000 have become refugees with around three million in need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian authorities say they oppose the well-armed militants.