Russia insists on Kurds’ inclusion in Syrian political process

Russia insists on Kurds’ inclusion in Syrian political process

Moscow, Sep 16 (IANS) Russia is still calling for the inclusion of the Kurds in Syrian negotiating process, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Thursday.

“Our position remains unchanged, we still believe that the Kurds must be part of the process, because they are the real political and military force on the ground,” he told Interfax news agency in Moscow.

“Without their weighty participation, it is impossible to resolve issues such as the future structure of the Syrian state, the creation of a Constitution, elections and everything that has to do with the political process,” he said.

“We had always tried to persuade Mr. (Staffan de) Mistura, the United Nations secretary general’s special representative, that the Kurds must be allowed to join the talks, especially when the negotiation will go to the substantive discussions concerning the political structure of Syria,” Gatilov said.

Mistura has agreed in principle, but not yet decided when exactly he will do so, he added.

Russia and Western countries have been at odds over several Syrian issues, including the participation of Syrian Kurds in the political process, which was firmly opposed by Turkey as it sees advances by autonomy-seeking Kurds led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Turkey sees the PYD as an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) and has been angered by the Kurds’ consolidation along its southern border.

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