Russian FM: no front between Syrian government, opposition
Syria has no clear front between the government and the opposition while terrorist groups continue to increase, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N./LAS Special Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday, ITAR-TASS reported.
"There are many groups in Syria and there is no clear front between the government armed forces and the opposition. The opposition is divided. There are many terrorists and they continue to grow. These are the Islamic Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and Jabhat al-Nusra," the Russian minister said.
Lavrov said he had studied a programme of the Islamic Front that openly urged foreign Jihadists to arrive in Syria. "Ideologically we don't see big differences between the organisations of the Islamic Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant and Jabhat al-Nusra," he added.
At the same time, the minister said the actions by the opposition and extremists against the government hampered the efforts aimed at reaching reconciliation. "We don't want reconciliation be declared by terrorist groups. This doesn't meet our interests," Lavrov said.
Iran and Saudi Arabia should take part in the Geneva II Peace Conference, Lavrov said after the meeting.
"The need of Iran's and Saudi Arabia's participation in the Geneva II Conference is obvious. We hope that finally the U.N. Secretary General will send invitations to those on whom the development of the situation depends on," the Russian minister said.
The U.S. Secretary of State has invited Iran to join the participants in the Geneva II Peace Conference. If Iran confirms it seeks to achieve set goals, the United States will laud Tehran's participation in the conference, Kerry said.
Lavrov said pragmatism dictated the need to invite Iran at the Geneva conference. "I'm sure that the Syrian crisis is an important issue as Iran's nuclear problem. Those who influence the situation (Iran and South Arabia has real influence upon it) should be invited," the Russian minister said.
In addition, he said among invitees there were those who did not want the Syrian settlement to be a success.
"The priority task is to deliver humanitarian assistance to Syria," Lavrov said.
Militants killed 32 employees, who had supplied humanitarian assistance to peaceful civilians, the Russian minister said, adding that Russia does not want terrorists to use reconciliation in Syria.