Sunday, December 30, 2012

Russia Hopes 'Reasonable' Syrian Opposition Will Seek Dialogue

Russia hopes ‘reasonable’ Syrian opposition will seek dialogue

Published: 28 December, 2012, 13:55

Moscow hopes that the Syrian opposition will substantially size up the situation in the country and search for ways to begin a political dialogue with President Bashar Assad’s government, says Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Russia pushes for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis that has been going on for almost two years and urges the conflicting sides to get to the negotiating table.

Moscow representatives have already had contacts with the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces which was formed in November in Qatar, Lavrov said on Friday. Now Russian diplomats are ready to meet for talks with the leader of the group – Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib. The National Coalition does not object to talks either, he added.

According to Lavrov, Moscow was “certainly disappointed” over the coalition’s main goal, which was proclaimed when it was created in Doha. It stands for the overthrow of the Assad regime and “the dismantling of all the institutions of power.”

Russia’s main concern is that such a scenario would only lead to non-stop violence in the Arab republic. The only solution is to reach a mutually-acceptable compromise between the rivalry parties.

In July, President Vladimir Putin said that in the case if the Syrian authorities are displaced, “they will simply swap places with the current opposition and this will cause a civil war that would go on for no one knows how long.”

Moscow has also repeatedly stressed that it is up to Syrians to decide the future of their country as well as the fate of President Assad.

Speaking on Friday, Lavrov underlined that the international community should not incite the sides of the conflict to continue bloodshed. On the contrary, they should urge all the Syrian political, religious and ethnic groups to find ways to come to an agreement on what future they want for their country, the Russian Foreign Minister told the media after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Amr in Moscow.

Russia appreciates the efforts of Egypt – which hosts the Syrian Coalition’s main headquarters – in trying to convince the opposition to agree for a political dialogue, Lavrov added.

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