Russia, US discussed readjusting Syria dialogue mechanisms – Russian official

MOSCOW, March 31 (KUNA) — The recent visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Moscow was aimed at adjusting the existing mechanisms of a dialog on Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry has said on Thursday.
“These negotiations can be characterized as adjustment of the existing mechanisms on Syria, they do exist. Contacts are actively developing – political, military. This is what Kerry came her for,” the Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in response to a question by by KUNA during her press briefing Thursday.
She pointed out that these mechanisms are represented in the Moscow and Washington-sponsored International Syria Support Group and the Russian and American military and political cooperation to force a settlement in Syria. Zakharove also stated that Russia has called for forming a united delegation of the Syrian opposition as soon as possible for talks with representatives of Syrian government in Geneva.
“Putting forward separate opposition groups as main negotiators in accordance with preferences of different external players will not make Geneva contacts successful,” she said. “It is very important to form as soon as possible a united and maximally representative opposition delegation that could directly hold constructive talks with the delegation of the Syrian government.” She unveiled that the Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov will tour the Middle East and hold consultations several regional countries during the period April 2-8.
On the Russian-US relations, Zakharove admitted that the current level of the Russian-US relations fails to correspond to the interests of the peoples of both countries.
“The Russian-US relations are not living through their best times,” she said.
“This is a fact. We are not dealing with embellishing bilateral relations and are not trying to create the appearance that everything is going as before. No, nothing is going as before,” Russian diplomat said.
“It seems to me that re-appraisal in approaches will be of global, systemic nature,” she added.
“At the same time, we still consider as our priority the restoration of full-format relations that would be undoubtedly aimed at realizing the interests of the peoples of both countries in all spheres – economic, humanitarian, educational and tourist areas – so that all categories of citizens can feel the benefit of the development of bilateral relations,” she said.
She went on to say that “the choice of cooling off bilateral relations or, to be more exact, “bringing them down to the current level instead of their cooling, is not the choice of the Russian Federation. As we have realized, this is the conscientious choice of the United States represented by its current leadership.” She underlined that Russian-US bilateral relations should develop to work for the benefit of people on both sides.
“We proceed from the fact that the current level of bilateral relations surely does not correspond to the interests of the peoples of both countries,” Zakharova said.
On relations with Turkey, the Russian official said that Moscow’s stance of Ankara has not changed since the Turkish downing of a Russian Su-24 aircraft months ago.
She, however, stressed that the crisis is of a temporary nature and “I believe that our nations will get through it” “But there may be no reconciliation with what has been done, and no justification to what keeps being said. Turkish officials had better not rebuild the words of Russian politicians to make out of them proposals they need.” “We have said many times – we do not consider the Turkish people and Turkey as enemies. We are neighbors, we are close peoples,” Zakharova said.
“Our two countries have an extensive and rich history. People deserve overcoming the crisis for bilateral relations.” (end) as.ibi