President al-Assad Receives Minister Lavrov
President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday received Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Lavrov: Russia is Prepared to Assist in Emerging from the Syrian Crisis as Soon as Possible on the Basis of Arab Work Plan
In a statement to the press after his meeting with President al-Assad, Minister Lavrov said that he conducted very important meetings with the Syrian leadership, primarily with President al-Assad, Vice President Farouk al-Shara, and Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, during which he affirmed Russia\’s readiness to assist in emerging from the Syrian crisis as soon as possible on the basis of the Arab League plan dated November 2nd 2011.
“President al-Assad affirmed his commitment as per the Arab plan to the task of putting an end to violence regardless of its source. To this end, Syria affirms its interest in continuing work with the Arab League observer mission and increasing observer numbers to cover all points and verify any breaches or violations to the principle of not allowing violence regardless of source,” he said.
He added that he had told Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabia in a phone call on Monday that Russia believes it necessary to preserve and expand the observer mission.
Lavrov stressed the need to activate dialogue with the participation of all Syrians, the government and all groups with the help of the Arab League.
“President al-Assad affirmed today that the committee which was formed to carry out dialogue with all opposition group under the chairmanship of the Vice President still has all the necessary authority to carry out this dialogue… It must be assisted by those who can, including those who reject dialogue up until now,” he said.
The Russian Minister said that he mentioned the content of the letter sent by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev regarding the need to expedite political reforms and undertaking constitutional reform, adding that President al-Assad affirmed that he will meet the committee tasked with preparing a new constitution as soon as possible and that a referendum on it will be held after it\’s official presentation, and afterwards general elections will be held with the participation of the parties formed as per the new political parties law.
Lavrov said that the results of his visit are very important and that it came just in time, adding that Russia believes that the message it sent on the need to move forward has been received.
“We believe in the necessity of continuing the efforts aiming at finding a solution and settlement to the Syrian crisis… the Russian side intends to work actively with the Syrian side and with Syria\’s neighbors and the Arab League… naturally, we will continue work with opposition groups which, for one reason or another, haven\’t agreed until now to participate in general national dialogue… we believe it\’s necessary for the countries that have more influence on these groups to work with them,” he said.
Lavrov concluded by saying that Russia has simple and clear goals which can be summed up in not allowing the death of civilians, adding “we also believe that the region needs peace and that Syria needs peace… all external forces must assist in national dialogue and reaching national agreement and reconciliation away from interference in Syrian internal affairs.”
Earlier, Minister Lavrov arrived in Damascus amid a massive popular reception in appreciation of Russia\’s support to Syria, people and its reform program.
Huge crowds flocked to south bypass in Mezzah to greet Lavrov and express appreciation of Russia\’ stances.
Similar crowds streamed to Saadallah Al-Jabiri Square in Aleppo, highly lauding Russia\’s positions, rejecting foreign interference in Syria\’s internal affairs and supporting combating terrorism.