Russian FM goes to Syria for Assad talks

Lavrov and Russian Foreign Intelligence Service's chairman Mikhail Fradkov will visit Damascus on Tuesday to meet Assad upon an instruction from Medvedev.

Russian FM goes to Syria for Assad talks

Defending Moscow's decision to veto a Western-Arab draft in the Security Council that had urged Assad to give up power, Russia's foreign minister said Russia had asked for the vote to be delayed until after his visit. He had announced plans for the Syria trip just hours before the vote on Saturday.

"It is sad that the co-authors decided to hastily put the resolution to a vote, even though we appealed to them with a request to give it a few more days, including to make it possible to discuss the situation after (the trip)," he said.

Russia's foreign minister said that some external actors wanted to change the regime in Syria.

Sergey Lavrov said some external actors, whom he did not want to identify, were willing to change the regime in Syria, however it would do nothing but increase number of victims in that country.

Russia had encouraged Damascus to speed up reforms for a few times, and continued to do so, Lavrov told a joint press conference with his Bahraini counterpart in Moscow.

Lavrov argued that Syrian opposition had been recommended that it should not reach any compromise with the Syrian regime, and groups armed with that aim only raised number of victims.

The foreign minister said making reforms was obligatory in the Middle East, and Middle Eastern nations were heading towards better lives and that change had to be supported.

However, reforms should be achieved without any external intervention and nobody should incite civil war, Lavrov said.

"Some of the voices heard in the West with evaluations of the results of the vote in the U.N. Security Council on the Syria resolution sound, I would say, improper, somewhere on the verge of hysteria," Lavrov said.

"This brings to mind the saying, 'He who gets angry is rarely in the right'," he said at a news conference following talks with Bahrain's foreign minister.

Lavrov said Western nations' refusal to postpone the vote "means it was more important to them to put the blame on somebody for what is happening ... than to reach a consensus in the Security Council, which was completely realistic."

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov also defended the veto, saying Washington was seeking to oust Iranian ally Assad to increase its influence in the Arab world and isolate Tehran.

"Syria has become a victim for the most part because it is close to Iran. The removal from power of the current regime is part of a plan to isolate Iran," Primakov wrote in an article published on Monday in the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

"The United States and its NATO allies want to exploit the situation that arose in the spring of 2011 in the Arab world with the aim of getting rid of Arab regimes it dislikes," wrote Primakov, a Middle East expert who has also been Russia's foreign minister and spy chief.

Lavrov said the draft resolution put too little pressure on the opposition and "armed extremists" Russia says must share blame for bloodshed that has killed more than 5,000 people since Assad launched a crackdown on protests 11 months ago.

"Such a resolution would have meant the Security Council was taking the side of one participant in a civil war," he said.

Lavrov and Russian Foreign Intelligence Service's (SVR) chairman Mikhail Fradkov will visit Damascus on Tuesday to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad upon an instruction from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Over the weekend, Russia and China vetoed a United Nations (UN) Security Council resolution calling for al-Assad to step down.

Lavrov declined to say what message he and Foreign Intelligence Service Director Mikhail Fradkov would bring to Assad when they travel to Damascus on Tuesday at the behest of President Dmitry Medvedev.

He said Russia was pressing Assad's government to implement democratic reforms more swiftly but that some opponents were using a peaceful movement pressing for reforms as a cover to seek "regime change" in Syria.

Lavrov emphasised that Russia favours a peace dialogue in Syria that is free of outside interference and preconditions.

Moscow expressed discontent with earlier versions of the resolution that specifically called for Assad to cede power.

That language was removed in a bid to appease Moscow, but the draft it vetoed still expressed full support for an Arab League plan that called for him to quit.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 07 Şubat 2012, 09:41