Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insisted on Thursday that Iran take part in the Geneva II Convention on Syria.
“All external players must be invited to take part in the conference,” Lavrov said. “We’ll insist Iran be invited,” the Russian minister said, adding that objections over Iran’s invitation was a mistake, Itar-Tass reported.
On Monday, a senior Russian foreign ministry official once again underlined that Iran should take part in the upcoming Geneva II Conference.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said that Moscow and Washington are still divided over Tehran’s participation in the conference slated for June.
Nevertheless, the Russian Foreign Ministry believes that the event would not be successful if Iran were not invited, Ryabkov said.
Russia and America agreed during US Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Moscow to set up a conference of international players to end the crisis in Syria. Moscow wants to involve all the nations which took part in the Geneva conference on Syria last summer, and says without Iran’s participation the conference cannot succeed.
Late in May, Lavrov underlined that Iran should take part in the upcoming Geneva II Conference.
“This issue is not related to the Syrians alone, as there are a number of foreign players involved at that crisis as well, and therefore, Iran’s presence at that conference is of key importance for us,” Lavrov said.
“In my talks with the US and French foreign ministers John Kerry and Lauran Fabio aimed at solving the ambiguities about the combination of participating countries at Geneva II International Conference on Syria I gained their approval on need for revising their former decision,” he added.
Also in May, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Abbas Araqchi announced that Tehran is likely to take part in the Geneva II Conference on Syria if the co-hosts, the US and Russia, invite it to the international gathering.
“If the Geneva II Conference is held and if Iran is invited, we will study our presence with a positive view,” Araqchi said at the time.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia accused the foreign-backed Syrian opposition of hindering peace talks aimed at ending the current crisis in the Arab country, describing its conditions to take part in the international peace conference as impossible to fulfill.
“We are under the impression that the National Coalition and its regional sponsors are doing everything so as not to allow the start of the political process and achieve military intervention in Syria through any means possible,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters.
“These demands are impossible to fulfill,” Lavrov said, as he reiterated Russia’s concerns that the opposition in Syria was fractured and did not have a single leader. “The only thing that unites them is a demand of Bashar al Assad’s immediate departure.”
Earlier on Wednesday, the so-called National Coalition, the bloc which has been since last Thursday in Istanbul to discuss whether it will take part or not in the peace conference, said that any negotiations with the Syrian government should lead to the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad.
“I hope that there will be sensible forces among the Americans and Europeans who will be able to rein in those who condone these absolutely unacceptable aggressive approaches of the National Coalition and who try to make this coalition look like the only structure with which the Syrian government should talk,” Lavrov added.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia has warned the West against using a search for chemical weapons in Syria as an attempt to topple the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“There are governments and outside players that believe that all means are appropriate [to be used] to overthrow the Syrian regime,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.
Referring to the use of chemical weapons by foreign-backed militants on March 19 near the city of Aleppo, where 25 people were killed and 86 injured, Lavrov criticized UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his call on a UN fact-finding mission to investigate unproven claims about the use of chemical weapons in Syria in December 2012.
“This demand by the [UN] secretary-general with reference to a forgotten
episode reminds us a great deal of attempts in Syria to introduce a
practice analogous to that which existed in Iraq, when they were looking
for weapons of mass destruction there,” Lavrov added.
The Syrian government requested top UN officials to open an investigation into the March 19 incident. However some Western nations are blocking the investigation, demanding that the commission should investigate a different case of supposed chemical attack near the city of Homs in December for which the militants blame government forces.
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia will not allow a repetition of the Libyan scenario in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday.
“We’ll not allow the Libyan experience to be reproduced in Syria. Unfortunately our Western partners have departed from the Geneva accords and are seeking the departure of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad,” Lavrov said, adding Russia was not clinging to any individual leaders in Syria.
Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed UN resolution on Syria on July 19 over fears that it would lead to foreign military intervention in the Middle East country. The resolution was tied to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which would have provided for the use of force to put an end to the rapidly escalating conflict. Russia says it has no special interest in seeing Assad remain in power, but that the “Syrian people” should decide his fate.
A number of Western countries have been trying to persuade Moscow to support a resolution effectively authorizing a military operation, but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”
In Libya, rebels ousted and killed long-standing dictator Muammar Gaddafi in October 2011 after a months-long military standoff in which they received assistance from NATO forces. Russia did not use its veto power in the UN Security Council to block the intervention in Libya that was started under the pretext of protecting civilians there. Lavrov also said Russia was not holding any talks on the fate of embattled Assad.
Meanwhile, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said the Syrian leadership had assured Russia there was no danger of the spread of chemical weapons in the Middle East country.
“The Syrian government is assuring us that it will not allow their spread [chemical weapons]. We hope that this will be so,” Patrushev said.
He was echoed by Lavrov, who said Russia is more concerned that the chemical weapons could fall into hands of Assad’s opponents, whose ranks allegedly include al-Qaida affiliates.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media DUBLIN, Ireland—US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi Thursday as world leaders desperately seek an end to the conflict in Syria.
Amid fears the 21-month conflict which has already claimed some 40,000 lives may take a gruesome new turn, the three diplomats were to hold crisis talks on the sidelines of an international meeting in Dublin.
“Secretary Clinton has accepted an invitation by UN special envoy Brahimi for a trilateral meeting on Syria this afternoon with Mr Brahimi and Russian FM Lavrov,” a senior State Department official said.
US officials hope there may be a new willingness by Moscow, a staunch ally in Damascus, to probe ways to bring more pressure to bear on Assad to step down. The United States has been calling for some time for Russia to use its leverage with Assad to try to open the way towards a political transition. Moscow has been a staunch ally of Assad and has vetoed UN Security Council resolutions aiming to sanction the regime.
But it did initially sign onto a peace plan crafted by Brahimi’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, until it wavered in the face of imposing punitive UN action if Syria refused to implement the accord.
Clinton and Lavrov met first on Thursday morning for bilateral talks in which a US senior official said they both agreed to “listen to what the special envoy has to say.”
“They both have a lot of respect of his mission and want to be supportive of it,” the State Department official said.
Washington has so far provided humanitarian, non-lethal aid to the rebels, but refused to arm the opposition amid fears of pouring weapons into an already volatile region, where anti-US militant groups are springing up.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday on a trip focused on resolving sharp differences over the conflict. Last month, Erdogan said Russia held the key to the Syrian conflict, and that if Moscow took a “positive” stance in the Security Council it could push another key Damascus ally Iran to review its policies.
Source: Radio Netherlands
Newscast Media MOSCOW—The The removal of President Bashar al-Assad from power will do nothing to end the 19-month civil war in Syria but will only escalate the violence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
“It is like daydreaming to speculate on the subject, to the effect that if the [Syrian] government is overthrown everything will fall into place,” Lavrov said after a meeting with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius.
“If this is a priority for somebody, bloodshed will continue, and for quite a while, too.”
“Assad’s fate should be decided by the Syrian people,” he added.
There is no military solution to the Syrian conflict as mercenaries fighting on the side of the Syrian insurgents keep arriving in the country from neighboring states, the minister noted.
Lavrov said on Monday Moscow was disappointed by the failure of a United Nations-brokered ceasefire, but there was little sense in blaming either side.
Western powers have condemned both Russia and China for their repeated refusal to back UN sanctions against Assad’s regime, which the United Nations has accused of complicity in the massacre of unarmed civilians. Russia says the UN resolutions contain a pro-rebel bias and that both sides are to blame for the continued fighting, which Syrian rights groups say has claimed up to 35,000 lives.
Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed earlier this year not to allow a repeat of last year’s “Libya scenario,” which saw the ouster and murder of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi after a NATO military campaign.
Source: RIA Novosti