Turkey’s 'irrational opposition' to Kurds attending Syria peace process ignored by West – Churkin

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin © Mike Segar
The Russian Ambassador to the UN has called on members of the Security Council to exert influence on Turkey so that Kurds be included in the Syria peace process. Vitaly Churkin also warned against any “secret agenda” and further unilateral endeavors in Libya.

Speaking to Izvestiya daily on US-Russian interactions in Syria, Churkin said that Pentagon officials tend to underestimate the much needed cooperation with Moscow, as the Russian success in fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists took them by surprise.

"Generally speaking, close Russia-US interaction at various levels – political, diplomatic and military – is the backbone of the crisis settlement efforts. Everyone understands that. And the fact that the Americans, especially Pentagon representatives, are underestimating it may probably mean that they are still at a loss over Russia’s energetic actions in Syria in the last six months,” he said.

For the peace process in Syria to move on, the Russian envoy has once again stressed that Kurdish participation in Geneva is essential. Yet at the same time, he expressed concern that Western countries are unwilling to pressure Turkey, who repeatedly refuse to allow the Kurds to join the discussions, despite them remaining one of the most important elements of resistance to terrorism in Syria.

“Turkey opposed, absolutely irrationally, the participation of the Syrian Kurds in the talks. This way it is only prompting them towards ‘separatist sentiments.’ And this is what Ankara fears,” Churkin said. “Regrettably, developments around our draft statement demonstrate that the United States and other Western members of the United Nations Security Council do not want to influence Ankara’s position. It is regrettable as it is in no way promoting the talks.”

Churkin also expressed skepticism about potential unilateral plans some members of the Security Council might decide in combating the rise of lawlessness and the influence of IS in Libya, where NATO led intervention helped to oust the country’s long-time leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Calling, the Libyan fiasco a “very painful” experience, Churkin said that while countries are united in their effort to restore Libya’s unity and territorial integrity, “our Western partners seem to be stopping short of telling the whole truth, which gives an impression that they may have a secret agenda in Libya.”

READ MORE: Western states block Kurdish participation in Syria peace talks proposed by Russia

“There have been media reports that the Americans delivered airstrikes at Islamic State targets in Libya. Newspapers say British special forces are present there. We are warning our Western partners that unilateral actions will bring about no good,” the envoy said, adding that solving problems in a failed state requires efforts of the international community coordinated through the UN Security Council.