Russia defends Kurds’ participation in intra-Syrian talks

Moscow, March 11 (IANS) The exclusion of the Syrian Kurds from the upcoming intra-Syrian reconciliation talks in Geneva will only feed separatism in the war-torn country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday.

“A very alarming perspective will emerge that the exclusion of the Kurds from participation in the negotiations from the onset will only incite those forces that would prefer not to remain within Syria,” Lavrov said at a press conference here following talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, adding that it is not in anyone’s interest to do so, reports Xinhua.

Lavrov said the Kurds control at least 15 percent of the Syrian territory and are allies of both Russian and US-led coalitions in the struggle against the Islamic State, Nusra Front and other terrorist groups in Syria.

“So the beginning of negotiations without this group will be a manifestation of frailty of the international community,” Lavrov said.

He also slammed Turkey for being the only side that opposes the participation of the Kurds, noting that all other members of the International Syria Support Group have defended their inclusion from the very beginning of the negotiation process.

The new round of reconciliation talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Geneva will be held from March 14 to 24.

The previous round of talks ended last month with no tangible results, but intensified international efforts have managed to establish a cessation of hostilities in Syria.

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