Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lavrov: Some Countries Hinder Dialogue among Syrians, Al Qaeda Cells are Fighting Syrian Forces

ISTANBUL, (SANA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said there are countries that are putting obstacles in the way of dialogue among the Syrians, calling on all players in the Middle East and the world to seek a way to implement the Geneva Statement so as to solve the crisis politically.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu which took place in Istanbul on Wednesday, Lavrov voiced commitment to the Geneva Statement, affirming that if all players adopted the principles of the Statement, then it will be possible to overcome all obstacles placed by some countries which keep calling for war and toppling the state.

He pointed out that changing the regime in Syria as a precondition for dialogue is unrealistic,  and that Russia doesn't play the game of changing regimes or authorities in countries.

"If our goal is to stop and end the crisis, we must force all those who fight there to sit at the dialogue table, but when some sides aim at changing the region or having the president step down, this will be at the expense of more victims among the Syrian people," Lavrov said.

He also stressed the necessity to stop arming the Syrian opposition, saying that arming the opposition contradicts the Russian position and that the armed opposition must stop violence and start political dialogue to resolve the crisis.

He affirmed that Al Qaeda cells exist in Syria and are fighting the Syrian forces alongside other terrorist groups affiliated to it, stressing that Russia's goal is halting the violence in Syria as soon as possible . 

"We know that there are also cells affiliated with Al Qaeda fighting within the Syrian territories, and there are various fronts in Syria that were included in the American terrorism list… from now on, if we prefer a military solution then we will witness an escalation of the situation in Syria," Lavrov added.

The Russian Foreign Minister warned against betting on a military solution for the crisis in Syria, saying that this will increase threats to Syria and expand terrorist influence in the region, stressing that all sides must work according to the Geneva statement as a military solution will have an opposite effect and will lead to more humanitarian tragedies in Syria, in addition to increasing the effects of the crisis on other sides.

Lavrov said that the activities of the so-called "Friends of Syria" group has a negative impact on settling the crisis in Syria, adding that the Arab League's decision to grant Syria's seat to "the Syrian opposition" contradicts the Geneva Statement and does not help in finding a solution to the crisis.

Meanwhile, Davutoglu claimed that his government is trying to "stop the escalation of the crisis in Syria" and said that "the Syrian people are the ones who decide the future of their own country," neglecting to mention his government's role in destabilizing Syria and supporting and harboring terrorists.

H. Said / H. Sabbagh

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