Jun. 7, 2013 (TSR) – Russia’s foreign minister has censured the US Department of State officials for their ‘peculiar comment’ on the results of a trilateral meeting over Syria in Geneva reported by Press TV.

A Russia-US-UN trilateral meeting, with the participation of UN-Arab League Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi, was held Wednesday in the context of preparations for holding the international conference on Syria which was agreed on by the Russian and U.S. foreign ministers during the latter’s visit to Moscow last month with the aim to find a peaceful solution to the crisis in Syria.

The meeting served as an advanced step in the preparations to hold an international Geneva 2 conference on Syria.

During a Thursday press conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “I have heard that officials from the US Department of State have given a very peculiar comment on the results of yesterday’s meeting in Geneva between Russia, US, and UN” according to the report.

“In particular, the State Department representative stated that Russia, the United States and the United Nations agree that the goal of the new conference in Geneva must be the forming of a new transitional government in Syria. This really matches with what was written down last year,” he said.

“But, if the reports that I have received are true, the State Department went on to add that this should be a transitional government to which the current authorities in Damascus would hand over all their powers. If this was really said by the State Department, this is a very strong distortion of what the talks were about,” the Russian foreign minister added.

Lavrov’s remarks were in response to an earlier statement by Jennifer Psaki, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, where she reportedly claimed that participants in the preparatory meeting had agreed that the forthcoming talks on Syria should focus on the formation of a transitional government, to which the current administration should give up all powers.

What really happened

The Russian Foreign Ministry explained Wednesday’s meeting was focused on the need for appropriate representation in the international conference for all the blocs of the Syrian opposition and not just those which enjoy foreign support.

“The ongoing contacts will be dedicated to that issue in the next stage in order to reach a final agreement on the general concepts for the international conference on Syria,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement published on its website on Thursday.

It clarified that the Russian side stressed during the meeting the importance of the participation of the neighboring countries of Syria and other influential regional sides like Iran that could make a significant contribution to the efforts to solve the crisis in Syria.

The statement said that the participants agreed that the main goal of the conference is to launch a dialogue between the Syrians to reach the point of fully implementing the Geneva Communiqué on June 30th of last year.

It added that the participants also highlighted the importance that the Syrians themselves shape the solutions regarding building the future of their country in the framework of the political process with all forms of support from the foreign sides.

Lavrov further reiterated during his press conference that Moscow would continue to push for Iran’s participation in the upcoming Geneva meeting despite opposition from some Western states.

The Russian Ministry statement pointed out that it is originally scheduled that the tripartite meeting will be resumed on June 25th in Geneva.

Meanwhile, Brahimi has expressed hope that the Geneva 2 conference would convene in July, as the preparatory meeting failed to set a date.

Lavrov: International Players Can’t Decide on behalf of the Syrians

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, also stressed that the international players cannot make decisions on behalf of the Syrian people, saying the task of those players is to influence the parties into participating in the international conference on Syria reported by SANA.

“The situation in Syria raises everybody’s concern and negatively affects the whole region,” Lavrov told a press conference following a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) in the Russian region of Kaliningrad.

He warned of the aggravating differences and the dangerous operations taking place in the neighboring countries and those which witnessed the so-called ‘Arab Spring’, a CIA false flag operation.

He stressed the need that the international community determine its position on whether to support those seeking to use force for regime change notwithstanding the civilian victims or those who insist on the peaceful solution.

Lavrov reiterated Russia’s firm stance on solving the crisis in Syria peacefully, “which is why we presented the initiative to hold an international conference on Syria in Geneva and worked hard to get to implement the Geneva communiqué agreed upon in June of last year.”

He pointed out that the international conference cannot be quickly held “given the acute nature of differences and contradictions which accumulated in the Syrian society.”

“The ongoing talk now is on the need for the participation of the government and representatives of the opposition in the negotiations and this is essential, but there are some opposition forces that don’t want to take part in the conference and believe that it wouldn’t help in solving the crisis,” the Russian Foreign Minister said.

He noted that the National Coordination Body wants to participate independently in the conference and that the Kurdish Council wants to participate as an organization.

“All the parties concerned should be given the opportunity to take part in this conference, which is very important to reach a compromise and secure stability in the region,” said Lavrov.

He highlighted that the main task of Geneva communiqué is to secure the forming of a transitional commission on the basis of agreement between the government and the opposition, noting that Wednesday’s tripartite meeting between Russia, the US and the UN focused on these issues.

Moscow: Armed Groups Used al-Qseir for Smuggling Weapons, Infiltration of Mercenaries

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich said that the armed terrorist groups in al-Qseir area in Homs had used the area as a conduit for smuggling weapons and the infiltration of foreign mercenaries, adding that they carried out ”sectarian cleansing” there reported by SANA.

Lukashevich said in a statement on Wednesday that restoring security and stability to al-Qseir is a ”clear military success,” adding that ”no one should harbor illusions that Syria’s problems can be solved by the use of force.”

”Settling the crisis in Syria is only possible through peaceful political means, i.e. through dialogue among the Syrians,” he added.

Lukashevich said that the latest developments in Syria confirm the Syrian government’s concerns regarding a possible use of chemical materials by the Syrian opposition for justifying external military intervention.

He added that Moscow shares Damascus concerns on the information that extremist groups and terrorists in Turkey, Iraq and Syria own toxic materials, devices and technologies necessary for making a chemical weapon.

The spokesman added that the information prove once again the need for responding to Syria’s request for starting an inquiry into the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian opposition in Khan Al-Assal town in Aleppo countryside on March 19.


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