Moscow – Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir discussed the future of Syria with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday.
During a joint news conference following the meeting, the Saudi foreign minister said Riyadh is against involvement of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Lebanon’s “Hezbollah” in Syria.
“We believe that they have no place in any part of the Arab world,” Jubeir said.
He also said that the interference of the IRGC in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and the Gulf was “unacceptable and rejected.”
He reiterated the Kingdom’s stance that there was no future for Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
“Assad is responsible for the killing of 300,000 Syrian citizens. He is also to blame for the involvement of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah in carrying out genocide crimes in Syria,” he added.
Pointing out to a disagreement between Moscow and Riyadh over Iran’s role in Syria, Lavrov said: “As for the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, as you may well be aware, we do not consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization. We operate on the premise that both were invited to Syria by a legitimate government.”
The Russian foreign minister continued: “Of course, we are aware of Saudi Arabia’s position. Clearly, we are not on the same page in that regard, to put it mildly.”
“Nonetheless, we share the view that all without exception Syrian sides and all without exception external actors who have any influence on these sides should be involved in the process if we want to resolve this crisis. Of course, terrorist organizations recognized as such by the UN Security Council, such as ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, must be excluded from the process,” Lavrov added.
Al-Jubeir stressed that the Syrian regime has repeatedly violated the agreed truce, adding that any solution to the war in Syria should be based on Security Council Resolution 2254.
The Saudi minister said that the Russian-backed Syrian peace talks in Astana, Kazakhstan were witnessing positive progress, but he thought there was no need to widen the list of participants in those talks, which are sponsored by Iran, Turkey and Russia.
For his part, Lavrov voiced his country’s commitment to promote good relations with the Kingdom.
“Overall, we are satisfied with the results of our talks, which have confirmed our mutual resolve to continue to develop Russian-Saudi relations to the benefit of our nations and in the interests of stability in the Middle East and North Africa,” he stated.