Iran is undoubtedly a powerful player in the whole situation. Leaving it out of the loop of the Geneva meeting is a mistake.'' Sergey Lavrov, Russian foreign ministerRussian foreign minister has reiterated Moscow’s opposition to any kind of foreign interference in Syria, saying the country's fate should be decided by Syrian people. "We are not supporting and will not support any external meddling [in Syria] .... External players must ... commit to influencing all the sides in Syria to stop the violence,'' Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. Meanwhile, he denied comments by a US official that Russia had agreed to a plan by the UN-Arab peace envoy, Kofi Annan, for a new national unity government in Syria that could include the opposition members. He added that Russia would firmly oppose any plan urging Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. A senior US diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, had said Russia was among supporters of the proposed national unity government in Syria.
Lavrov insisted that a Geneva meeting, scheduled on July 28 on Syria’s crisis, must focus on convincing opposition groups to "refuse from their uncompromising approaches and, in accordance with the Kofi Annan plan, sit down for negotiations with the government.''He also criticized US opposition to Iran’s participation in Saturday's high-level meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council on Syria in Geneva. "Iran is undoubtedly a powerful player in the whole situation,'' Lavrov said, adding, "Leaving it out of the loop of the Geneva meeting is a mistake.'' JMA/SS/IS