Lavrov: Success in Geneva impossible without Kurds

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and UN Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday said that peace talks in Geneva would not be successful without Kurdish participation.

According to a statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov met with UN Envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in Moscow and discussed the Astana process and upcoming Geneva talks.

In the meeting Lavrov is reported to have told de Mistura that the meeting in Geneva needed to be conducted with the participation of all Syrian opposition groups, “including the Kurds, otherwise it will be impossible for it to be a success.”

Lavrov was referring to the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and officials of the autonomous administration in northern Syria, who are not part of the Syrian Opposition delegation. The Kurdish National Council (KNC), which is supported by the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq, is included in the Geneva talks but does not have any real influence on the ground according to analysts.

On Wednesday Russia hosted an intra-Kurdish conference in Moscow attended by Kurdish parties from Turkey, Iraq and Syria, Iran including representatives from the PYD and autonomous administration, but not KDP or KNC, which are allied to Ankara, who has vetoed PYD presence at Geneva until now.

Lavrov’s comments will likely be appreciated by Kurdish circles who have also said that Geneva talks would fail without their participation and that they would not recognise any decisions taken at meetings they were not present at.

Commentators have said Moscow has taken the initiative by engaging with all the parties involved in the Syria crisis, especially Turkey and the Kurds, while the Trump administration dwells on its position on the matter.