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July 13, 2012 (TSR) - In an effort to bring the ongoing crisis in Syria to a peaceful settlement, Russia is calling on Washington’s hypocrisy and double-talk to work more actively both with government officials and the opposition.
Using the ‘Libyan scenario’ as their template for regime change, the Syrian opposition is provoking a humanitarian crisis in the country in order to win foreign intervention.
Together with China, Russia’s firm position is that the resolution of the crisis must proceed according to “the supremacy of international law” where the right of nations to decide their destiny without outside interference, should be respected, i.e. Syria’s sovereignty.
Russia has been tirelessly mediating and been frustrated since early this month as both the Syrian opposition as well as that of some Western countries have been diligently working hard to thwart and distort the communiqué from the Geneva Conference on June 30, even when Russia and China explicitly announced that there was no preconditions to the agreement that USA, UK, France and every minister who were present then.
At a meeting with US Ambassador Michael McFaul on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov stressed that Russia continues to work “with Damascus and various groups of the Syrian opposition” in an effort to end the 16-month crisis.
The Russian side expressed the hope that the US “will act in the same fashion,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The meeting between Russia’s Deputy Minister and Ambassador McFaul comes as the UN monitoring mission in Syria is scheduled to expire at the end of next week. Russian diplomats want to see the UN mission extended, together with an immediate ceasefire between the conflicting parties.
Following their meeting, the Russian and American sides released a joint statement, which read: “The parties confirmed the shared desire to comply with Annan’s plan approved by the UNSC and the provisions of the Final Communique of the ministerial meeting of the Action Group in Geneva.”
“Bogdanov stressed the need for strict compliance by all parties…to the obligations attributed to the [United Nations] documents, with the goal of achieving a peaceful resolution in the Syrian crisis,” the Foreign Ministry said.
ASSAD GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN VERY COOPERATIVE ALL THE WAY
Syria welcomed the final communique that was issued by the action group meeting on Syria, particularly the ” essential points that talked about committing to Syria’s sovereignty and independence… in addition to calling for halting the violence… and not militarize the crisis,” the foreign ministry said in a statement earlier this month.
Though there are a few vague points in the statement that need clarification, stopping short of specifying those points, the Assad government nevertheless renewed the country’s commitment to the six-point peace plan of UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan.
It is important to note that Syria has always been open to have a national dialogue with all parties in order to reach a consensus on a program to end the crisis, emanating from the concept that the Syrian people make the decisions to build its future.
The UN’s chief military observer in Syria, Major General Robert Mood, repeatedly confirms the Syrian government’s “very clear commitment to the six-point plan” devised by Kofi Annan.
ANNAN PEACE PLAN HEADACHE: THE SAME COUNTRIES POINTING FINGERS TO RUSSIA AND CHINA ARE THE SAME POWERS WHO ARE ENABLING THE VIOLENCE AND SMUGGLING OF WEAPONS AND TERRORISTS
Kofi Annan, UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, is scheduled to hold talks with Russian leaders in Moscow on Monday, his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi announced on Friday.
In keeping with Moscow’s efforts to engage both sides in the conflict, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met prominent Syrian opposition activist Michel Kilo in Moscow on July 9; the negotiation process continued two days later when Lavrov met with Abdel Basset Sayda, the head of the oppositional Syrian National Council (SNC).
Lavrov put forward Russia’s position that the most effective way for the Syrian government and opposition groups to resolve their longstanding conflict is to follow the Annan Plan.
“By having backed the [Annan] peace plan, we confirmed a commitment [by both sides in the conflict] to immediately cease violence and enter into a dialogue,” the Russian minister said following his talks with Sayda.
“This will allow the Syrians themselves to decide on their fate,” Lavrov stressed.
THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION “GROUPS” IS THE PROBLEM
Annan was quote this month that the divisions between regional and world powers over how to resolve the Syrian issue were making the situation worse. He also offered a few suggestions on how the peace plan could be salvaged. In an earlier interview with the Guardian he suggested that Iran have a role to play in resolving the crisis.
Though the 5 world powers and the ministers who attended there (also belonging to the “Friends of Syria” group), signed an agreeable, fair and balanced communiqué that did not stipulate the ouster of al-Assad, the Syrian opposition groups are demanding a precondition that shuts down any peaceful negotiations to happen: President Bashar al-Assad must first step down.
The Turkey-based 300 member Syrian National Council and the domestic Syrian National Coordination Committee for Democratic Change with an entire fractured and unorganized opposition continue to squabble on the wording of documents since the process started.
What the mainstream media do not put into context with USA, UK, France, and “Friends of Syria” is that there is no proper centralized leadership in the opposition side, and therefore, it is very difficult to also broker it. Each “group” has a different grievance, self-serving interest and vendetta. Much of them just want to remove current President Bashar al-Assad with no reason but personal vengeance, having no regard for the future of the Syrian people and “democracy”.
Russia Urges Annan to Work More Effectively with Syrian Opposition
Gatilov warned in a statement on Friday of the western insistence on ending the work of the international observers mission to Syria.
He added that Russia doesn’t rule out the possibility that the western insistence is an attempt to feel the pulse on repeating the Libyan scenario in Syria which is a grave mistake.
He added that it would be a grave mistake if the West takes any steps after withdrawing the international observer mission from Syria to further more complicate the situation which will be inevitable as the UN observers constituted to an extent an element of restraint and contributed to spreading stability in the areas they were located in.
Commenting on the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s proposal to send military units under the claim of guaranteeing the security of the UN observers, Gatilov stressed the need for coordination with the Syrian government on sending any armed forces or military units, adding that the government is not now ready as far as he knows.
He added that there are no talks about starting a peacekeeping process in Syria or imposing peace in it, adding that sending units should be coordinated with the hosting side, indicating that the Syrian government agreed on the work of the international observer mission.
The Russian Deputy Foreign Minister described the peace imposition process as part of compulsive measures taken without the agreement of the government concerned.
Regarding the scheduled visit of the UN special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, to Moscow next week, Gatilov said that his country will call upon Annan to work more effectively with the Syrian opposition.
Gatilov said that Russia sees that its partners are not ready to work effectively with the opposition as Russia is doing, adding that Annan is the essential mediator in this process.
He expressed deep regret that communications of Annan and his team with the opposition failed to reach any tangible results.
He said that Russia will reiterate its political support to Annan’s efforts and plan to reach a political and diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria.
Gatilov affirmed his country’s belief in that Annan’s plan is the only basis for solving issues related to the crisis in Syria.
RUSSIA WILL NOT SUPPORT ANOTHER WESTERN-PROPOSED ONE-SIDED BIASED UN RESOLUTION
Russia will not let the UN Security Council pass a West-proposed draft resolution to impose sanctions against Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
Russia reiterated on Friday its opposition to imposing foreign pressures on Syria and approving new sanctions at the Security Council.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, held a meeting with Italy’s Ambassador in Moscow, Antonio Zanardi Landi, in which they exchanged viewpoints on the situation in Syria and the issue of extending the UN observer mission at the Security Council.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the Russian side stressed on the inadmissibility of imposing foreign pressures or new sanctions on Syria at the Security Council.
In response to a question from the Interfax news agency about Russia’s stance, Gatilov said such a resolution would be “unacceptable.”
“If they decide to do this (to have a vote on the draft resolution) — knowing it would be unacceptable to us — then we will not let it pass,” Gatilov said.
The diplomat said the draft resolution is unbalanced, as it only requires the Syrian government to fulfill its obligations.
“It will mean an exacerbation of the political atmosphere around Syria,” Gatilov said.
He stressed that the draft resolution is not consistent with the spirit of either the Geneva declaration, which envisages a roadmap to pave the way for a Syrian-led transition, or UN-Arab League joint envoy Kofi Annan’s six-point peace plan.
“We will try to move to a constructive text for a possible draft resolution, which can reflect the true situation,” Gatilov added.
Russia disseminated a draft resolution on Tuesday, which proposes extending the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) for another three months, reducing the number of military observers, and shifting the focus to a more political mission.
Meanwhile, Britain and France are working on their own version of a draft resolution on Syria, which puts the Annan plan and the transition guidelines from Geneva under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. The Chapter gives the Security Council the right to employ economic and diplomatic sanctions to implement its decisions.
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Russian Foreign Ministry: Russia’s Defensive Weapons Shipments to Syria Delivered under Previously Signed Contracts
In an interview with Russian Interfax News Agency, Gatilov stressed that all Russian weapons shipments to Syria are delivered under previously signed contracts and they are to strengthen the Syrian air defense systems.
He said that these weapons are defensive and that Russia did not sign any new contracts to export weapons to Syria.
He pointed out that Russia is not supplying Damascus with weapons that could be used in other confrontations.