Russian diplomat hails UN envoy’s commitment to dialogue with Syrians

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© AP Photo/Nataliya Vasilyeva

GENEVA, February 8. /TASS/. New UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen’s commitment to dialogue with all parties concerned, primarily the Syrian government and the opposition, deserves support. Moscow is ready to provide assistance to him, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva Gennady Gatilov said, answering reporters’ questions in the run-up to Diplomatic Workers’ Day marked in Russia on February 10.

He recalled that Pedersen had assumed office only a month ago, adding that it would be premature to evaluate his performance now.

“However, his commitment to building a constructive dialogue with all interested parties, primarily with Syrians themselves – the government and the opposition – certainly deserves support,” Gatilov stressed. “We could see that in the course of several meetings with the new envoy that have taken place.”

“For our part, we are ready to render him every assistance in his difficult mission, and we made it clear during his first visit to Russia in this capacity,” he noted.

Gatilov drew attention to “the fruitful work done by Pedersen’s predecessor, Staffan de Mistura” and “Russia’s constructive relations with him.” “We believe it is essential to ensure continuity in the UN’s work on Syria. To do that, it is important to rely on the existing achievements and move forward wasting no time,” he said.

The Russian envoy stressed that efforts aimed at resolving the Syrian crisis were in the focus of all political issues discussed in Geneva. According to Gatilov, that concerns “both the humanitarian situation in Syria and the Syrian Constitutional Committee.” A group of diplomats at the Russian permanent mission in Geneva is dealing with the issue. “It is important that some of them have extensive experience in the Middle East direction,” Gatilov concluded.

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