Syria talks must include all opposition groups: Lavrov

14th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

Russia called Monday for all opposition factions to be represented at the Syrian peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the country's five-year conflict.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also hinted that an agreement could be reached to coordinate air strikes between the Russian air force and the US-led coalition to retake key rebel towns.

"We are looking at how the delegations participating in this dialogue are being formed both by the government and the opposition," Lavrov said at a news conference after talks with his Tunisian counterpart in Moscow, RIA Novosti state news agency reported.

"It's clear that they should include the whole spectrum of Syrian political forces, otherwise this cannot claim to be a representative forum," Lavrov said.

The ceasefire in Syria brokered by Russia and the United States last month is generally working, he added.

"The cessation of combat is working, despite certain violations, while at the same time an uncompromising battle is continuing against the Islamic State group, Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups."

In an interview broadcast Sunday on Russia's Ren-TV, Lavrov also said Moscow was ready to coordinate with the United States to retake the rebel strongholds of Raqa and Palmyra.

"We are ready to coordinate our actions with the Americans, because Raqa is in eastern Syria and there mainly the US coalition is active," he said.

"At some stage the Americans even suggested to us -- I don't think I'm revealing a huge secret here -- let's divide up the labour: you, the Russian air force, concentrate on liberating Palmyra, and we the American coalition will concentrate on liberating Raqa."

The fresh round of talks in Geneva which opened on Monday comes after negotiations broke off in February.

© 2016 AFP

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