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Lavrov: Continuing Military Support to Syrian Opposition is Dead End

Jun 07, 2013  – MOSCOW, (SANA)- Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, stresed the necessity that all international players make all efforts to launch the political process in Syria.

“Today we stressed once again that all international players should work for the peaceful settlement to the crisis and create the favorable conditions to launch dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition,” Lavrov told a joint press conference with Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in Moscow on Friday.

He stressed that Russia calls for wide participation in the international conference on Syria by the “Syrian opposition” and the influential regional and countries, including the neighboring countries of Syria and Egypt, and other countries which can push forwards the efforts to have the Syrian government and the opposition agree on the frameworks of the transitional stage according to Geneva Communiqué.

Answering the reporters’ questions on the U.S. officials’ statements on the situation in al-Qseir, Lavrov said “There are several points, most importantly is that we have warned of the great dangers of internationalizing the crisis in Syria.”

He stressed that “hundreds, rather thousands, of gunmen” are fighting the Syrian army “and those are of European nationalities and from the region’s countries, “which is why there is increased importance to end the crisis and create favorable conditions to hold the international conference on Syria.”

Lavrov recalled the statement of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry when he recently talked about the Syrian army fighting hard with the opposition.

“Logically this means that the Syrian army has faced well-armed and well-trained battalions,” said Lavrov, adding that “There is information that foreign experts and trainers have been helping the gunmen, including in al-Qseir.”

The Russian Foreign Minister stressed therefore that “the statements we have heard during the past days condemning what is happening in al-Qseir as an operation against civilians are hypocritical.”

He reiterated that “Any hypocrisy regarding the international humanitarian law to distort the real picture in al-Qseir is impossible.”

“In principle, we should understand and determine whether we want to support the political process, in which case everybody should work to launch the dialogue…or we want to change the regime,” Lavrov said.

Commenting on statements that the military support for the “opposition” will continue to change the situation on the ground, Lavrov stressed that this issue “will lead to nothing and it is a dead end.”

He voiced hope that all the partners that have verbally supported the Russian-U.S. initiative to commit to their word in action.

Lavrov stressed Thursday that the international players cannot make decisions on behalf of the Syrian people and that their task is to influence the parties into participating in the upcoming international conference.

For his part, the OIC Secretary General said the OIC insists on the need that the solution to the crisis in Syria be political and that military intervention must be prevented, adding that the OIC seeks the preservation of Syria’s territorial integrity.

Ihsanoglu considered that “The situation in Syria is getting more difficult…and this negatively affects the neighboring countries.” 

Lavrov, Ki-Moon Discuss Situation in Golan, International Conference on Syria

Lavrov discussed in a phone call with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon the situation in the Golan and preparations for the international conference on Syria.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said the two sides discussed the miltiary and political situation in Syria in terms of the escalating tension in the disengagement area in the Golan.

Earlier on Thursday, Austria official announced that it will withdraw its forces operating with the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) due to the deteriorating security situation after several attacks and violations against these forces committed by the armed terrorist groups.

Bogdanov: No Room for Radical Forces in Future Settlement

Meanwhile, Russian President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East, Deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov, stressed Friday that there should be no room for the “radical forces” fighting on the Syrian land in any future settlement in Syria.

Bogdanov noted in a statement to Russia Today channel that the international conference on Syria due to be held in Geneva will conduce to a consensual transitional body of the Syrian government and the national opposition which enjoys support from the Syrian society.

He expressed hope that the American side would succeed in making the “opposition coalition” determine its negotiating delegation to the international conference before the upcoming consultative meeting scheduled on June 25th between the Russian and American sides.

Bogdanov revealed that Russia and the US intend to conduct consultations at the level of security councils in both countries in the coming few days on the issue of chemical weapons use in Syria.

Bogdanov, Chinese Ambassador Stress Need for Political Solution for Crisis in Syria

Bogdanov also held a meeting with China’s Ambassador to Russia Li Hui the efforts being made to hold the international conference on Syria.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the two sides gave considerable attention to the situation in Syria in light of the recent tripartite meeting between representatives of Russia, the US and the UN in which preparations for the international conference on Syria were discussed.

The two sides were in agreement on the need for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence in Syria and seeking a political solution for the crisis in it undertaken by the Syrians themselves without preconditions and in accordance with the Geneva statement.

The statement said Ambassador Li Hui lauded Russia’s diligent efforts to find a polticial solution for the crisis in Syria and voiced China’s unconditional support for holing the international conference on Syria.

Ghossoun/ H. Said / H. Sabbagh – SANA