Lavrov, Tillerson Say Geneva Talks on Syria Should be Held without Preconditions

VIENNA- Moscow and Washington are confident that both the government of Syria and "opposition" should take part in the talks in Geneva without any preliminary conditions, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday, commenting on results of his talks with the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Itar Tass reported.

"[We] also discussed the political process under the UN auspices, which restarted some time ago, revived after the beginning of the Astana process and which has intensified recently thanks to the initiatives voiced at the summit of the presidents of Russia, Iran and Turkey in Sochi," Lavrov said. "We welcomed the resumption of the Geneva talks, but expressed confidence that both the Syrian government and opposition should take part in the talks without any preconditions."

 "Regrettably, some of the oppositionists stick to a position that runs counter to their own liabilities and keep on advancing preliminary conditions," he noted, adding that Moscow and Washington share a common approach to that matter "that there must be no preliminary conditions."

"The parties must begin direct talks on issues of a new constitution and preparations for elections," he added.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov, during his meeting with Tillerson, stressed importance of commitment to Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

He also affirmed that that only the Syrians have the right to decide their future, the ministry said.

H.M

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