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Some Countries Vexed by Russia’s Leading Role in Syria Peace Process – Envoy

© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarRussian and Syrian soldiers stand next to an aid convoy in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016
Russian and Syrian soldiers stand next to an aid convoy in Aleppo, Syria, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
ASTANA (Sputnik) – Russia sees growing dissatisfaction in some countries with its new role as the main negotiator of the Syrian peace process as well as attempts to destabilize situation in Syria after Russia began the military pullout, special presidential envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev told Sputnik.

Russia is preparing to host a Syrian National Dialogue Congress on January 29-30. Lavrentyev said the international community was welcome to send its representatives but only Syrians would tentatively have the floor.

"We have, of course, noticed such attempts," he responded to the question about whether the congress faced any attempts of disruption or whether the situation in Syria could be destabilized further after Russia withdraws its main forces.

"Not everyone is happy about Russia leading the process of political settlement but also the fight against the Daesh [banned in Russia as a terror group], against terrorist groupings in Syria. Not everyone likes that," presidential envoy said.

"Russia is simply trying to do what is required of any country. We must put our own interests aside and act in the interest of the Syrian people. We are doing our best. Can anyone get in our way? I think not because we are going in the right direction and if the Syrian people decide to back us we’ll see this during the national dialogue congress," Lavrentyev added.

Moscow sets no time frame for the implementation of decisions made at next month's Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi and sees its launch as the main objective, Alexander Lavrentyev said.

READ MORE: US Plan to Keep Troops in Syria Threatens Hopes for Peace After Russian Pullout

"No, we don’t," he responded to a question about whether there would be any deadline for implementing the decisions reached at the meeting.

Russia, Turkey, Iran, the UN and others are welcome to attend the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi as observers but only Syrians will be given the right to have the floor, Lavrentiev said.

Asked whether reports were true that Syria’s vice president and career diplomat Farouk Sharaa could be given this role, the envoy said, "These are just rumors. There are no names yet."

Syria Detainee Release

A working group on the release of detainees established at Astana-8 talks on Syria will be composed of experts from guarantor states only and work in close coordination with the United Nations and the ICRC and Syrian Arab Red Crescent, Lavrentyev stressed.

"As three state guarantors, we are going to appoint representatives that will work alongside a UN representative to agree the lists of detainees in custody and their exchange," he explained.

READ MORE: China, Egypt, Iraq, UAE May Become Observers in Syria Peace Process

Russia, Iran and Turkey – the three Syrian ceasefire guarantor states – initially wanted to include Syrian opposition and government members, Lavrentyev said, "but we think this is not urgent anymore. It [working group] is to start its work within the next two to three weeks, it will hold consultations with members of the armed opposition and the central government, process data on the detainees and coordinate the process of their exchange."

"There are plans – they have been documented – to engage members of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent as well as other international and non-profit organizations," the Russian envoy added.

Lavrentyev said the working groups would report to guarantor states on their progress and differences that need to be ironed out to make their work more efficient.

The eighth round of Syrian peace talks wrapped up Friday in the Kazakh capital of Astana. In the course of two days, the three guarantor states agreed to set up a working group on the release of detainees, adopted a statement on humanitarian mine clearance and agreed to meet next month in Russia's Sochi to prepare a Syrian National Dialogue Congress.

Attitude Toward Syrian Government

More and more countries, including Saudi Arabia, are changing their irreconcilable position toward Syria's central government, Russian special presidential envoy stated.

"When I attended, at the president’s request, the unifying conference in Riyadh, Riyadh-2, they absolutely sincerely tried to talk sense into the opposition, talk them out of including offensive remarks about [Syrian] authorities into the final communique," Lavrentyev added.

Previously, the US and the participants of the US-led coalition demanded the immediate withdrawal of Assad from his post.

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