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MOSCOW, November 3 (Itar-Tass) — Syria’s consent with the plan of the League of Arab States (LAS) will give hopes for starting talks in order to settle the internal situation in the region, Federation Council Foreign Relations Committee chairman Mikhail Margelov told Itar-Tass.
“The Syrian authorities made it clear that they were ready to reach compromises and take part in the talks with the opposition. This decision was become real after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had given signals to the international community.” “It gives us hopes for starting the peace process,” the legislator said.
In his view, the LAS plan “is more balanced”. “It meets the interests of the Syrian people, the Syrian opposition and the country’s authorities. Due to the fact that the interests were met to a lesser degree proves President al-Assad seeks to end the protracted conflict,” Margelov stressed.
The LAS roadmap envisions the withdrawal of Syrian units from the cities of the country and terminating violence by all sides of the conflict. In addition, within two weeks the Syrian authorities have obliged to begin a nationwide dialogue.
Margelov, who is also Russian presidential special envoy for Africa and mediator of the crisis in Libya, called for “riveting attention to the work, which should begin between the Syrian authorities, the Syrian opposition and the LAS”. “It is necessary to uphold the efforts taken by the League of Arab States on the settlement of the conflict by peaceful means.” He assured that Russia “is ready for this”.
The legislator stressed that the LAS played an important role in resolving difficult situations in the region. “It is a universal and authoritative instrument in the Arab world and one of the instruments, which was not lost during the ‘Arab spring’. According to the practice, Arabs themselves understand their problems and can solve them themselves,” Margelov pointed out.
Earlier this month, Margelov urged Bashar al-Assad “not to delay real reforms, to hold a dialogue with all parties involved in the conflict and not with those who agree to maintain contacts”.
According to the Russian legislator, “it is necessary to start an inter-political dialogue immediately because the latest news prove that the situation is becoming more and more tense. The number of victims increases. We understand that when the first shots fired there were no good or bad in the conflict,” he added.
Speaking about Russia’s position on the U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria, Margelov explained that Moscow “came against prospects for new sanctions on Syria that could lead to tragic events in Syria as in Libya.” “I’ve come to Libya this summer and I see my own eyes what has happened there. We wouldn’t like this scenario to repeat once again,” Margelov, who is also presidential special envoy for Africa, stressed.
At the same time, he pointed out that Moscow’s veto “is not an act of grace towards the Bashar al-Assad regime. It is important to realise that Russia’s veto is not an act of grace or a carte blanche for the current Syrian regime. If the Syrian regime did not understand this signal, it should do this in the short run”.
At the same time, head of the Syrian opposition delegation Qadri Jameel of the Front of Change and Liberation said Russia’s veto on the U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria opened the way to a national dialogue. “We arrived in Moscow to thank Russia for its veto on the U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria.”
“The fact is that you prevented the external interference into internal affairs of Syria and opened the way to the dialogue, and gave guarantees for protecting the peaceful population of our country,” the head of the Syrian delegation stressed.
He agreed that the inter-Syrian dialogue “should begin immediately. Every day of delay leads to new victims. Today the time has passed to start talks by preserving the unity of Syria. I don’t know what chances will be when victims increase”.
In addition, one of the leaders of the Syrian Communist Party said the inter-political dialogue was conditioned by “a responsible and reasonable approach” of all participants. “Both the regime and the opposition should be ready for compromises. None should start talks with a position that it is going to impose on other side,” he noted.
Commenting on Russia’s role in this process, Jameel said he expressed gratitude to Moscow for its efforts to settle the Syrian problem. He said Syria “waits for Russia’s advice and aid”. He also said the opposition “does not take offence at contacts between Russia and other anti-government forces. There are two oppositions in Syria – patriotic and non-patriotic. Our movement will not hold talks with non-patriotic forces. This is our point of view and we haven’t imposed it on anyone. If, for example, Russia does this, we will take offence at it”.