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Khurshid to Articulate India's Stand at Syria Meet

Union  External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will be reiterating India’s position, that the future of  war-torn Syria must be decided  by a Damascus-led comprehensive political settlement, at the‘Geneva-2’ international conference beginning on Wednesday.

Published: 22nd January 2014 08:28 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd January 2014 08:29 AM   |  A+A-

Kurshid_PTI

Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will be reiterating India’s position, that the future of  war-torn Syria must be decided  by a Damascus-led comprehensive political settlement, at the‘Geneva-2’ international conference beginning on Wednesday.

Both  sides of the Syrian conflict are taking part in the international conference, which will be attended by dozens of countries, to find a lasting solution to the deadly internal strife that has plagued  the West Asian nation.

The ministerial meeting, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, will be followed by political dialogue between the Syrian sides and UN representatives.

“Geneva-II is viewed by India as a convergence of the evolved positions of global and regional powers with our own stated position on supporting a comprehensive political settlement of the crisis involving all parties to the conflict,” official sources said.

In order to do the groundwork for the Geneva meeting, MEA Joint Secretary (West Asia and North Africa) Sandeep Kumar visited  Damascus last month, the first official-level visit to the West Asian nation by an Indian envoy since 2011.

The senior MEA official had discussions with various Syrian officials, including the country’s main Opposition leader and head of National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, Hassan Abdul Azim.

“His first-hand assessment has helped to formulate the Indian approach to the Conference,” said sources.

In his presentation, Khurshid will reiterate New Delhi’s  approach that only Damascus can chart  the country’s future and that there can’t be any military solution to the stand-off. “He will also extend Indian support for the peace initiative and offer New Delhi’s assistance in the implementation of the deliberations of the Syrian parties,” Khurshid said.

The run-up to ‘Geneva-2’ had not been particularly auspicious, with the UN inviting Iran to the talks and then withdrawing its invite within 24 hours.



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