U.S. offers Russia parallel Syria talks together with Saudi Arab, Turkey and Iran - newspaper
The U.S. delegation attending talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Munich proposed forming an additional mechanism to search for a solution to the Syrian crisis, Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported on Tuesday.
A Russian diplomatic source told Interfax that the U.S. was speaking about a regional format, which should complement the Geneva II peace conference on Syria.
A source in the U.S. Department of State confirmed this report to the newspaper.
"Americans have proposed including five participants - the Russian Federation, the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran - in this parallel track," the newspaper said.
According to Kommersant, Russia and the U.S. are leading players in the Syrian settlement process, while Saudi Arabia and Turkey are major sponsors of the forces fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, and Iran is a key ally of the Syrian government.
Russia generally approved of this idea, Kommersant's sources said.
The newspaper says that in 2013 Moscow itself came up with an initiative to launch a regional negotiating process together with Washington to complement the inter-Syrian dialogue. The U.S. rejected the idea at that time, but revisited it recently, it said.
The U.S. stance took this U-turn in response to the outcome of last week's first round of negotiations between Syria's government and opposition delegations as part of the Geneva II peace conference, Kommersant said.