March 14, 2013 (TSR – SANA) – Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday affirmed that arming the Syrian opposition by foreign countries contradicts with the international law, saying “the Syrian people determine their destiny.”

“I understand that the international law disallows arming the opposition as this contradicts the principles of the international law,” Lavrov said at a press conference in London, reminding of the Libyan Scenario.

He hoped the Syrian opposition would formulate a team to negotiate the Syrian government, adding “the government and opposition have to nominate two teams for negotiations.. the government did so, and we wait for the opposition to do the same thing.”

Lavrov called on the western countries to help formulate a team of the opposition to negotiate with the Syrian government, saying “If the target was really to stop the bloodshed in the country, they had not to put preconditions.”

Russian Foreign Ministry: Report of International Commission of Inquiry on Syria Unobjective, Unbalanced

The Russian Foreign Ministry described the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria as unobjctive and unbalanced.

Deputy Director of Department of Information and Press of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova said that ”The report is unobjective and unbalanced, and the last document of it is no exception to the rule.”

She stressed that the recommendation to refer the crisis in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC) is futile and wrong-timed.

”Russia has not backed forming the commission in the first place, ” Zakharova said, adding ”but we were cooperating with its experts to clarify our stand on the ongoing events in this country.”

She lashed out at some members of the Security Council for having ignored draft statements condemning terrorist bombings in Syria which claimed the lives of many innocent civilians, considering their positions as biased and marked with double standards.

“What surprises Moscow is that the report doesn’t include a call for cancelling the unilateral economic sanctions imposed by some countries and regional organizations on Syria, despite the fact that the Commission stresses the negative impact of these sanctions on the citizens’ lives,” said Zakharova.

As for the recommendation to refer the file of the crisis in Syria to the ICC, she noted that “it brings about opposite results at the wrong time as it leads to both sides clinging to uncompromising positions, which doesn’t lead to bringing the peaceful settlement any closer.”

Zakharova said the international community should focus its efforts now on contributing to halting the violence and launching the internal political dialogue based on the Geneva Statement and not threaten the issuing of an ICC ruling.

Russia: We Stress Need to Start National Dialogue in Syria

In another context, the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed that Russia supports the effort to immediately start the national dialogue in Syria without preconditions.

A statement by the Ministry, quoted by Russian Today website, said Russia’s principled position is based on the belief that “there is no alternative to a diplomatic political settlement in Syria.”

The statement, issued following the meeting of Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Gennady Gatilov, with a delegation of French diplomats, said Moscow’s position is based on the necessity that all Syrian parties and external players abide by the Geneva Statement reached on June 30, 2012.


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