The forthcoming informal meeting of UN Security Council members with the Syrian National Coalition should not be viewed as the opposition group’s recognition “in any official role,” Russia’s UN envoy said on Thursday.
Vitaly Churkin said the aim of the meeting, to take place on Friday, was to encourage the opposition to start preparations for a reconciliation conference, proposed by top Russian and US diplomats in May.
“The aim of this event should be to encourage the National Coalition and its leadership to prepare for Geneva-2 [reconciliation conference],” he said. “It’s an informal event, it’s not even a UN Security Council event. The fact that this meeting takes place should not be viewed as a step towards the National Coalition’s recognition in any official role.”
The Geneva-2 conference will be aimed at finding solutions to the ongoing civil conflict in Syria which has claimed more than 100,000 lives according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The Syrian delegation to the informal meeting is led by Coalition President Ahmad Jarba, a Saudi-backed tribal leader. The envoys have already arrived to New York and met behind closed doors with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday evening.
Washington and Moscow have been at odds over Syria, with the Kremlin backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Washington last month pledging to give some military support to Syrian rebels.
But despite the differences, Kerry said in early July that the objective of the United States and Russia “remains the same… to recognize the notion that there really isn’t a military victory per se in Syria that keeps Syria as a country, and … that we have an obligation to try to work towards a peaceful resolution because a peaceful settlement is the best way to save the state of Syria and to minimize the destruction.”