Dec 29, 2012 – MOSCOW, SANA – Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, renewed his country’s firm stance regarding the crisis in Syria in terms of finding a peaceful solution through starting dialogue among all parties based on Geneva Statement.
“Our stance is firm regarding Syria’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity, and we will not allow passing any decision against Syria under Chapter VII,” Lavrov said in a joint press conference with the UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, in Moscow on Saturday.
”Brahimi is engaged in a shuttle diplomacy, and he met the Syrian government and opposition in all its components. Likewise, we are contacting all parties in Syria openly and at all levels , and we hope that our stance is clear,” Lavrov said.
“We contact with all parties in Syria to solve the crisis in it; the terrorist acts are increasing there including what al-Qaeda is doing,” Lavrov said, adding “Our Priority is halting violence in Syria and starting a political process according to Geneva Statement,”
”Concerning outside players, it all hinges on their conduct. Dialogue among Syrians must start, and all acts that would aggravate the crisis must stop,” he added.
The Russian Minister stressed that all parties should support Brahimi’s mission, pointing out that there is still an opportunity for finding a solution to the crisis in Syria, as reaching a real political process is the best solution to find a way out of the crisis.
He said : ” The work basis of “Syrian Opposition Coalition” is the rejection of dialogue and the overthrow of the regime,” adding that the opposition which is represented through this coalition will not be able to affect the field situation.
Lavrov added : “We invite the coalition to work in accordance with Geneva Statement, but we were surprised of what they stated; It seems that the coalition chairman does not have a long history in politics as it seems that his latest statements came with intimations from foreign sides.
”Had al-Khatib (Chairman of the Coalition) been a real politician, he should have understood that it is in his own interest to listen to our analysis. If he wants to lend an ear to doubtful news such as those which claimed that I spoke about Latin American countries ready to host President Bashar al-Assad in case he stepped down…If he depends on such sources, he may reach incorrect conclusions.”
”We are ready for contacts with all opposition groups in Syria which care for the interests of their country. They have to be sure that Russia can play a role to solve the crisis.” The Russian Minister said : “Preconditions should not be set for solving the crisis in Syria, and the international players should work on overcoming contradiction between the relevant parties in Syria,”
Lavrov said ” Russia will not stand with any party in particular, as what interests it is the Syrian people’s destiny …the Syrian opposition’s rejection of dialogue is futile and would lead to a blocked path as it also would result in the increase of victims… I ask it to put aside the demand of ‘the departure of the regime’ before starting dialogue, as it also should reconsider its stance and resort to dialogue for the future of Syria,”
He stressed that deploying international observers in Syria should come after establishing security and stability and finding positive environment in it, saying ” We call for the return of the international observers, as the withdrawal of the Arab and then the international observers from Syria wasa big mistake.”
Lavrov went on to say that the foreign players should say one word and send parallel hints to all sides to halt violence and sit on dialogue table away from precondition.
”President al-Assad has repeatedly expressed, during meeting with Mr. Brahimi in Damascus, that he will stay in his post and will protect Syria and the Syrian people. There is no chance that this will be changed,” Lavrov said, adding ”We are accused of backing President al-Assad and blocking UN resolutions authorizing foreign intervention.”
Answering a question on whether Russia is considered part of the crisis or party to it, Lavrov said ”This is not worth commenting on…We are not backing the Syrian regime with offensive weapons…We cannot do anything about the fact that the regime has weapons from the Soviet Union era, but I believe that these weapons won’t be used inside.”
Asked about Russia’s military contracts with Syria and the defense systems it offers to it, Lavrov said ”We haven’t exported offensive weapons to the opposition similar to what other countries are doing, nor did we send special forces for an intervention. You can speak about an interference in Syria, but not by Russia.”
Barhimi, for his part said: ” Nothing is left for us but the political solution being a choice for solving the crisis in Syria according to Geneva Statement, and everyone should help the Syrians to overcome the crisis and halt violence.”
Brahimi said, ” The international community should help settle the situation in Syria,” stressing that ‘changing authority’ in Syria will not lead to improving the situation in it and that the alternatives of the political solutions in Syria are chaos and the continuation of violence, which will affect the region and the world as well.
He expressed hope for finding a peaceful solution for the crisis in Syria soon and that the new year would be good for the Syrians because that represents Syria’s and the whole world’s interest.
Russian Foreign Ministry: Russia Vigorously Backs Brahimi’s Efforts Based on Geneva Statement
The Russian Foreign Ministry stressed Russia’s strong backing to the efforts of the UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, based on Geneva statement as irreplaceable basis to solve the crisis in Syria.
In a statement following talks between the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the UN Envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi in Moscow on Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said “The two sides had a candid exchange of views on the situation in Syria, including means for a diplomatic political settlement to the crisis in the country.”
The statement indicated that ”Brahimi briefed Minister Lavrov on the outcomes of his contacts with the Syrian sides in Cairo and Damascus with the aim to reach an immediate halt to bloodshed and shift the conflict to the political track.”
”Lavrov and Brahimi emphasized the importance of intensifying international efforts to achieve a political settlement to the crisis on the basis of the points agreed upon during the Action Group ministerial meeting on Syria in Geneva on June 30,”the statement said.
The statement added that ”The two sides act according to their conviction that there won’t be a military solution to the crisis in Syria, and that the establishment of transitional leadership bodies has to be based on dialogue among the Syrians without foreign meddling.”
Bogdanov: Solving Crisis in Syria According to Geneva Statement, Only Syrians Decide Syria’s Future
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Bogdanov stressed that all the debates that Russia is conducting regarding the crisis in Syria are based on Geneva Statement, asserting that the Syrians are the only ones who determine the future of their country.
In an interview with Russian Russia Today Channel on Saturday, Bogdanov said “We discussed with our partners different thoughts to solve the crisis in Syria and all of them are on the basis of Geneva Statement,”
He dismissed as ” untrue” the existence of any US-Russian plan conveyed by UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi.
On a question on that Brahimi mission aims at reaching Geneva 2 or entering amendments or new points to Geneva Statement, Bogdanov said that what they have agreed on in Geneva represents the consensus of the international players, describing it as a good accord.
He indicated that setting up the details of a transitional process and its criteria are the Syrians’ mission who are the only ones to determine the future of their country oand prospects of developing it.
Bogdanov said that the urgent basic mission of Brahimi is halting violence and starting a constructive political dialogue.
He warned that hindering a solution to the crisis in Syria will lead to a massive chaos that will negatively affect not only Syria but all countries of the region which in turn will lead to the spreading of extremism and terrorism to distant areas.
”There are two ways for a settlement in Syria: either the political solution, or the internationalization which will bring about dire consequences for the region,” Brahimi said.
He added that ”We have to do our best for the political process to proceed according to Geneva statement. When it is too late, we will be obliged to make amendments to Geneva statement.”
On the question of deploying international observers in Syria, Brahimi said ”I believe that the peacekeeping efforts are part of the package of procedures intended for a political settlement to the crisis in Syria, with the top priority being the importance of ending bloodshed there.”
R. Milhem / M. Ismael/Ghossoun
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