Al-Moallem: Syria Determined to Peaceful Means, Combating Terrorism, Lavrov: Russia’s Stance Firm
Feb 26, 2013
Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem held talks in Moscow on Monday with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, discussing the current situation in Syria and relations between the two friendly countries.
Al-Moallem briefed Lavrov on the complications of the crisis in Syria which are caused by the interference of well-known regional and international sides and their support of terrorist groups with funds, weapons and training and sending them to Syria to sabotage its infrastructure and attack the armed forces, law-enforcement personnel, citizens, public and private facilities.
He pointed out that President Bashar al-Assad launched the political program to resolve the crisis on January 6th, 2013 at a time when the Syrian government is defending its citizens and combating terrorism, and that a ministerial committee chaired by the Prime Minister was formed to prepare for national comprehensive dialogue with all those who wish to engage in dialogue in Syria and abroad, including those who carried arms and relinquished them, because reform isn’t carried out through bloodshed but rather through dialogue.
Al-Moallem stressed that if the international community is really keen on the Syrian people, then it should exert pressure to end violence, because ending violence and creating a safe environment is a necessity for the success of the political solution, adding that this is affirmed by the Geneva statement and the political program for resolving the crisis.
The two sides were in agreement that the true test of the countries claiming commitment and concern over the political solution and the Syrian people’s interests is having this reflected by participating in stopping violence.
Regarding bilateral relations, the two sides discussed the need to improve these relations to reach the level of the standing political coordination between the two countries.
The meeting was attended by Presidential Political and Media Advisor Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Dr. Fayssal Mikdad, Assistant Foreign and Expatriates Minister Ahmad Arnous, and the Syrian Ambassador in Moscow Dr. Riyad Haddad.
Al-Moallem: Ready to Hold Dialogue with all Willing Sides, Determined to Fight Terrorism
Prior to the meeting, Minister al-Moallem stressed that the Syrian leadership is ready to hold dialogue with all sides, including the gunmen, and that it’s resolved to fight terrorism.
Al-Moallem said he was tasked by President al-Assad with extending thanks to the Russian people and leadership for their firm stances which respect and are committed to the UN Charter and rules of the international law, adding that these stances contributed to preventing a foreign intervention in Syria, specifically a military intervention similar to what happened in Libya.
“What we are witnessing in Syria is a war waged by terrorism against the state, the so-called “Jabhat al-Nusra” which is affiliated with Al Qaeda, is the major side which is responsible for terrorist attacks in the country. This organization brought fighters from 28 countries, including Chechnya, to Syria,” he said.
Minister al-Moallem added “As we believe in the peaceful solution to the Syria issue, President al-Assad launched the political program for the political solution last January. The Ministerial Committee started consultative meetings with most of the opposition forces in the country and opened the door for the external opposition to participate through providing facilitations and guarantees with the aim of holding a comprehensive national dialogue.”
For his part, Minister Lavrov stressed that “All sides that are thinking objectively realize the importance of discussions as to reach a peaceful solution… there is no acceptable alternative to a political solution.
“There are sides that have embarked on a course of further bloodshed, which risks the collapse of the state and society, but there are also sensible forces that are increasingly aware of the necessity to begin the talks as soon as possible to reach a political settlement,” Lavrov assured, pointing out that the number of supporters of such a realistic line is growing.
Gatilov: Western Sides Encouraged Armed Opposition to Continue Violence
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov held the western countries responsible for the obstruction of launching a political process to resolve the crisis in Syria according to Geneva Statement as they encourage the armed opposition to go ahead in violence.
“The big problem is that there was no exertion for tangible efforts to launch the political process due to the stance of the western countries.. since Geneva statement, we were in contacts with the government and opposition in Syria alike, and we did our best to push the two for dialogue, but our western partners took different stance and relatively encouraged the armed opposition to continue armed work,” Gatilov said in a special statement to ITAR TASS.
“This situation may continue for an indefinite period with all potential repercussions in case dialogue was not launched,” Gatilov warned.
He called on the western sides to meet and continue discussions, based on Geneva statement, affirming his country’s readiness to participate in a new work group on Syria with an expanded formulation including Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Gatilov considered that Russia lately noticed some positive developments in the behavior of the Syrian opposition.
M. Nassr / H. Sabbagh/ Mazen