Lavrov in Vienna to discuss situation in Syria and the middle East conflict

VIENNA, October 23. The Minister of foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov travels to Vienna, where colleagues from the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to discuss developments in Syria and will take part in the meeting of the middle East Quartet (Russia, US, EU, UN).

The Vienna format

Washington’s offer to hold a quadripartite meeting (Russia, USA, Saudi Arabia, Turkey) on the situation of Syria was announced on October 19, U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry during his visit to Madrid. In Moscow confirmed that the possibility of such contacts is studied. On the same day it became known that as the site is considered Vienna.

October 23 scheduled contacts in a variety of formats: in the morning held a bilateral meeting with Lavrov, Kerry, and it will be followed by talks with the participation of Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the delegation of which is also headed by the Ministers of foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubayr and Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The head of the Russian foreign Minister Lavrov on Thursday said that this quadripartite format is insufficient for settlement of the Syrian crisis. In his opinion, this matter should engage Iran, Egypt, Qatar, UAE and Jordan. Lavrov added that some of these countries “may well be in Vienna, but in parallel meetings”. Russia to work with them are ready, he said.

The expansion of the number of contacts on Syria and said Kerry during a visit to Berlin on 22 October, without mentioning, however, those States pointed out Lavrov. “This meeting (in Vienna – ed.) applies not only to these four parties, said U.S. Secretary of state. – Everyone should sit at the negotiating table, including Germany”. Officially, however, no specific additional contacts in a particular composition on Syria today in Vienna, the forthcoming is not declared.

As for the agenda of the meeting, as reported by the official representative of the Russian foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova, the Russian Minister will inform the colleagues about the operation HQs in Syria. There will be a discussion for a political solution in Syria. “This is another opportunity to discuss the Syrian conflict, given the developments that have occurred. Mean certain success on the ground, the advance of the Syrian army…, – said Zakharov. – We expect full, honest and objective exchange of views on the situation, which will give the opportunity to identify specific ways of enhancing efforts to achieve a comprehensive political settlement”.

Comment by US state Department agenda of the meeting was quite a scoop: according to the speaker office of John Kirby in the upcoming Vienna consultations of foreign Minister of the four countries will discuss “Syria and a range of other issues.”

The contacts in Vienna were not publicly linked today’s meeting held in Moscow on October 20 the talks between the presidents of Russia and Syria Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad, however, obviously, its objectives and results will also be of interest to partners Lavrov. In addition, the meeting will be held on the background of the earlier speeches of the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at session of the discussion forum “Valdai” in Sochi. The President of the Russian Federation, in particular, stressed that the fate of Syrian President Assad should be decided by the people of the country and stressed the need for international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Putin said that the meeting with Assad discussed the possibilities of dialogue between the President of Syria with the opposition and assured that the Syrian leader is ready.

It is unknown whether the meeting between Lavrov, Kerry to climb any other issues, except Syria. The agenda of the Russia-USA extensive: the issues of strategic security, including the implementation of the agreements on the ABM and INF, and Ukraine. However, it should be noted that a broad discussion on a range of issues may prevent a tight schedule – in addition to bilateral contacts and subsequent negotiations with the participation of Turkey and Saudi Arabia today on Russia’s initiative will host a meeting of middle East Quartet.

The threat of the intifada

Old topic of the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, perhaps pales against the backdrop of the dynamic development of events in Syria, however, has repeatedly said Lavrov, this conflict is the constant feeding extremist sentiment in the middle East and North Africa. The situation in Palestine is of concern to the Russian foreign Ministry: on the one hand, terminated the negotiation process, on the other – against this background, in recent months there has been a significant increase in tension, accompanied by human victims.

The last three weeks was characterized by a particularly sharp jump of violence: in four dozens of terrorist attacks killed 9 Israelis in clashes and attacks killed more than 50 Palestinians, nearly half of which, according to the Israeli side, participating in the attacks. Most of the attacks were carried out in Jerusalem in particular, at the entrances and alleys of the Old town. The leader of the Hamas movement Ismail Haniya has called these events the beginning of a new intifada (popular uprising).

The members of the Quartet will discuss ways to de-escalate the situation and resume dialogue. The previous meeting of the Quartet took place on 30 September on the sidelines of the session of the UN General Assembly in new York. In the statement it was stressed that the members of the Quartet expressed its strong commitment to the achievement of dogosudarstvennom solution to the Palestinian problem, which would be in the interests of ensuring Israel’s security and Palestinian aspirations for statehood and sovereignty. However, as shown last week, to improve the situation in Israel and Palestine that meeting failed.

The meeting will be held at the level of Ministers of foreign Affairs, confirmed their participation EU high representative for foreign Affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini.

The discussion of the settlement of a new round of escalation in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in recent days actively is held on the grounds of the UN. On October 21, held a closed meeting of the UN security Council on this issue, and on 22 October the subject was raised at the quarterly debate on the Middle East. UN Secretary-General ban Ki-moon, meanwhile, tried to calm the situation on the ground and 20-21 personally visited the region. Kerry in Berlin on October 22 held a meeting with the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, in the German capital on Thursday was also Mogherini.