Russia stresses importance of including Syrian Kurds in Geneva peace talks

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ARA News 

ERBIL – Kurds should be included in the intra-Syrian peace talks in Geneva, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Friday.

“Russia’s principal position is that the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party [PYD] has the right to participate in the Geneva process. There is still no clarity regarding this issue,” Bogdanov told Sputnik.

“Some ISSG members exert strong pressure, because they consider the PYD to be terrorists’ supporters or an unnecessary element, as Kurdish representatives from other political groups [Kurdish National Council] are taking part in the Geneva talks,” he said. 

Bogdanov added that Moscow considers “such an approach to be wrong and urges partners to invite PYD representatives to Geneva, as PYD is the leading force, which has organized resistance against the Islamic State in northeastern Syria.” 

Russia has been calling on the United Nations to invite Syrian Kurds to the proximity talks on settlement of the five-year civil war in Syria, the latest round of which took place in Geneva on April 13-27.

Speaking to ARA News, Timur Akhmetov, a Russian analyst on the Middle East, said: “Russia officially says it is not against any claims of Kurds unless all issues are discussed within ‘national dialogue’ (over which basically Damascus has a final say), and attempts will not end up with state disintegration.”  

Although Russian-Turkish relations have drastically improved after the failed military coup on July 15, Russia did not change its stance towards the Syrian Kurdish forces that have been the most effective element against ISIS.

According to Akhmetov, there are several reasons Russia is still supporting the Kurds despite of Moscow’s new relations with Turkey.

“First to not lose their support completely, and secondly to not provoke them to make any reckless steps like announcing secession from Syria,” he said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Source: ARA News

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