Jan 21, 2014, 4:56 PM
News Code: 2626166
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India to be in 'Geneva-II' confab, stress on Syrian-led solution

New Delhi, Jan 21, IRNA -- For the first time, India will participate in a UN-sponsored international conference on Syria to be held from tomorrow in Switzerland that will bring together all warring parties, domestic and international, to resolve the crisis and find a political solution to the conflict in the Arab country.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will participate in the conference- Geneva II, which "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," pti reported quoting official sources. With a view that there are no military solutions to the crisis and it is for the Syrians to chart out their own future, India is expected to reiterate this approach, extend its support for the peace initiative and offer assistance in the implementation of the deliberations of the Syrian parties, the sources said.

The Conference, which will be held in Montreux, is expected to have ministerial-level participation from all the invited countries from 22-23 January and this will be followed with the political dialogue involving all concerned Syrian political parties and UN representatives from 23-24 January.

As part of preparations for the Conference, India had, last month, deputed a senior Ministry of External Affairs officer Sandeep Kumar to undertake a visit to Syria, the first official-level visit since the crisis began in 2011.

Kumar had extensive discussions with various Syrian officials as well as with Hassan Abdul Azim, Head of the National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change, the main opposition in Syria. "His first-hand assessment has helped to formulate the Indian approach to the Conference," sources said.

Apart from the financial assistance of USD one million to the trust of Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons at The Hague for destruction of Syria's chemical weapons and related facilities, India has also offered the services of its experts to help in the destruction of Damascus' chemical weapons arsenal and related facilities.

India has maintained that the Syrian conflict should be resolved via dialogue. New Delhi, like Russia as well as China and Iran, has made it clear that it does not support any military intervention by Western powers, and this stand is seen by Russia as further justification of its own Syria policy.

India has been concerned that any spillover of the Syrian crisis could harm "deep Indian" interests in that region.