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UNITED NATIONS, September 20 (Itar-Tass) —— The recurrence of the Libyan events in Syria is not predetermined, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who leads the Russian delegation to the UN General Assembly session, said in an interview to be published by the Wednesday issue of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper.
“The recurrence of the Libyan or other scenario in Syria is not predetermined. On the contrary, there is a possibility for a peaceful non-violent settlement of the internal Syrian crisis,” he said. “In order to do that, the opposition should be oriented not at radicalism and uncompromising attitude but at the promotion of its demands at the negotiations, the search for national concord in the interest of stabilization and the coordinated promotion of democracy.”
“That is the purpose of the resolution Russia jointly with China have offered to the members of the UN Security Council. The alternative is a civil war, which will have extremely negative consequences for Syria, the whole region and the world at large. It is necessary to do everything for preventing such developments,” Lavrov said.
“Russia and its BRICS partners and some other states are interested in the discussion [on the Syrian situation] no less than the Western countries,” he said. “As we often say, Syria is a cornerstone of the Middle East architecture, and the preservation of peace and security in the Middle East depends on it a lot. It is not surprising that the Syrian situation will be a key item on the agenda [of the UN Security Council session],” he said.
Lavrov dwelt on the dialog between the Syrian administration and the Western states. “The thesis that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad cannot find a common language with the opposition does not look quite correct,” he said. “Why is this task ascribed to one side only? We think that the opposition should also be responsible for the provision of the peaceful future and prosperity of the country. In fact, this is its national duty. It would be irresponsible to ignore the invitation to the dialog and to reject practical although late steps of Bashar al-Assad in the reform of the laws on parties, elections and local self-government,” he said.
“The policy of boycotting the appeals for the dialog and hoping for the Western help, the way it happened in Libya, would do no good,” the minister said. “It is necessary to realize that the country is split. Some people demand an immediate change of the authorities and reforms, while others want gradual changes and think that it is necessary to preserve civil peace and tranquility.”
“The optimal way out of the crisis is the beginning of a political process involving the authorities and all the forces, which reject violence as a way of the achievement of political goals,” he said.
“In the light of the recent events in Tunisia, Egypt and some other countries, the Middle East and North Africa have been living through a period of drastic transformations since early 2011. The essence of these events is the change of regimes and traditions, which formed at the time when regional peoples acquired independence, the aspiration of peoples for bigger democracy, higher living standards and prosperity and the free access to universal human rights,” he said.
Moscow thinks that these processes “will not be easy or direct, and there have been numerous confirmations to that. There is no doubt that the current transformations will have far reaching consequences, and the region will become totally different,” he said.
“We support the aspirations of the Arab peoples and their wish for a better life, and we believe that they can and must determine their future. That is why we strongly oppose the interference in internal affairs and the pushing of ready recipes and development scenarios from abroad. It is important that democratic reforms concepts are generated by the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa with due respect for their civilization’s traditions by the external forces,” he said.
”It is our key interest to see Middle Eastern states stable, prosperous and democratically developing. Under the current circumstances, it is a key task of the international community to assist the transformations in the Middle East, to eliminate the challenges to international stability and security coming from that region, and to settle the protracted conflicts,” he said.
“Bearing in mind its close historical contacts with the region, Russia is ready for this work. We will continue the development of our relations with the countries in the Middle East and North Africa on the basis of mutual respect and mutually beneficial cooperation. The foundation of these relations is solid. It is based on the decades of friendly feelings of the peoples, not on the current situation,” he said.