Middle east

Russian Adviser to De Mistura Hopes Russian-US Cooperation on Syria ‘Inevitable’

Russia-US cooperation on Syrian crisis is “inevitable” and will occur at some point in the future, Russia’s adviser to UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura Vitaly Naumkin said Monday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The adviser expressed hope in an interview with the RT broadcaster that the Russian-US cooperation on Syria will start some time later.

“I hope that the Russia-US cooperation is inevitable and will occur some time later. Maybe it will concern only Al Bab or only Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor … we will see. I am absolutely sure that this cooperation will inevitably take place if [US President Donald] Trump continues to implement his pre-election promises,” Naumkin said.

Naumkin also said that Saudi Arabia must join Russia, Turkey and Iran as a guarantor of the Syrian peace process.

“I think that Saudi Arabia has to join the ‘troika’ of guarantor countries, which is working in the Middle East and resolving the Syrian crisis. I do not rule out that other countries from the region that have been impacted by the Syrian crisis will also join. Egypt can undoubtedly play a huge role in the start of the peace process in Syria,” he said.

Talking on the reasons behind postponing the upcoming Geneva talks on Syrian settlement, Naumkin said that the parties need time to prepare for negotiations.

“There are no secret reasons for postponing this round of talks. In the wake of recent events after the Astana talks, intensive preparation [for talks in Geneva], as well as consultations with all groups, is needed.”

He pointed out that it was necessary to at least form the list of participants of the Geneva talks.

Naumkin also pointed out that in the future, Astana may host another round of intra-Syrian talks.

“If the ceasefire holds during the period of preparation for Geneva talks, we will essentially move to the next stage – the stage of political settlement of the conflict,” the diplomat said.

The Geneva round of intra-Syrian talks under UN auspices was initially set for February 8. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that the negotiations would be postponed till late February.

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