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Saudi Arabia Stresses Geneva as Basis of Syria Settlement | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Russian FM Sergei Lavrov speaks at the Asean-US ministerial meeting during the South-East Asian bloc’s 50th regional security forum in Manila, Philippines on August 6, 2017. (Reuters)

Jeddah, Moscow, Beirut – Saudi Arabia stressed on Sunday its firm position regarding the Syrian crisis and said a solution should be based on the Geneva I Declaration and United Nations Security Council Resolution 2254.

The resolution stipulates establishing a transitional entity that manages the affairs of the state, drafting a new constitution for Syria and preparing for elections to build a new future for Syria without Bashar Assad.

An official source at the Saudi Foreign Ministry clarified the inaccuracy of the statements attributed to its minister, Adel Al-Jubeir, by some media sources.

Several media said al-Jubeir had informed the Syrian opposition’s High Negotiations Committee (HNC) of the Saudi decision to consider a political transition in Syria the first phase of which sees Assad remain in power.

The source reaffirmed the Kingdom’s support of the Syrian opposition’s HNC and the procedures it is considering in order to expand participation of its members and achieve a unified front among the opposition.

Separately, the three guarantor countries of a ceasefire agreement in Syria, Turkey, Russia and Iran and were still studying an implementation mechanism for the de-escalation zones deal in the province of Idlib.

“Work is currently underway on the third zone, the largest and probably the most complicated, in the Idlib province… It will not be easy to coordinate the parameters of the de-escalation zone,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists on Sunday.

On the sidelines of the ASEAN regional forum in Manila, Lavrov discussed the Syrian crisis in two separate meetings held with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Lavrov said Moscow is ready to normalize its dialogue with the US, if Washington gives up its confrontational approach, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

After his talks with Lavrov, Cavusoglu said they discussed the ongoing Syrian conflict and the Astana talks, describing their meeting as “positive.”

The Turkish foreign minister also said he would later meet Tillerson on the sidelines of the summit.