MOSCOW, November 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his German counterpart Guido Westerwelle discussed the situation in Syria and the Iranian nuclear programme by telephone on Wednesday, November 16.
During the conversation, initiated by the German minister, Lavrov and Westerwelle “exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly Syria, and touched upon Middle East settlement and the Iranian nuclear programme,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Lavrov earlier urged his foreign colleagues and heads of international organisation to support the League of Arab States’ plan for Syria in order to put the efforts in the country on a peaceful political footing.
“Moscow has actively supported the crisis settlement plan for Syria proposed by the League of Arab States (LAS) and welcomed the Syrian authorities’ readiness to start implementing it without delay,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“These measures and other parts of the LAS initiative create an opportunity for starting a constructive and substantive political dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition in order to lead the situation to the road of reconciliation and reforms without outside interference,” the ministry said.
“Considering these circumstances, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov sent oral messages to the foreign ministers of some countries and the leaders of international organisations, urging them to support the LAS plan and use their possibilities for ensuring coordinated influence on all parties to the conflict in Syria in order to implement the LAS initiative within the shortest time possible and put the settlement process in Syria on a peaceful political footing,” the ministry said.
In a telephone conversation with LAS Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby, Lavrov noted “the great importance of the efforts and role of the League of Arab States in fostering the dialogue and stressed Russia’s commitment to the need for the Syrians to find solutions to their internal problems on the basis of consensus and a programme of political and socio-economic reforms in the interests of all people”, the ministry said.
Russia continues to object to possible U.N. sanctions against Syria.
The Foreign Ministry urged all sides in Syria to refrain from violence and continue to look for fair and lawful solutions to burning problems.
Russia also opposes stronger sanction against Iran and will try to convince its partners to give up such plans.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the sanctions would “raise serious questions” and that “such actions, based on exterritorial application of U.S. legislation, potentially create a situation where Russian businesses cooperating with the abovementioned companies may be affected in a negative way”.
As a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Iran has an inalienable right to develop a peaceful nuclear programme under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Lavrov said earlier.
“No resolution has so far been proposed in the U.N. Security Council. We will not discuss hypothetical situations, but is common knowledge that Russia objects to stronger sanctions against Iran,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said earlier this month.
“We maintain constant contact with our partners who are members of the Sextet [five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany] and with those supporters of sanctions who are not members of the Sextet. We are showing [to them] the vicious and pernicious nature of this policy that is driving the problem deeper,” the diplomat said.
“If there is a disease, its causes must be dealt with, not symptoms,” he added.
“Unfortunately, sanctions are like ‘bandages’ or ‘applications’ that do not touch the root of the problem and give no treatment. We hope that our understanding and our vision of the situation will be taken as objective and will prompt corrections in the sanctions policy that has absolutely no prospects and that has been advocated by some influential states,” Ryabkov said.
In June the United States imposed sanctions on several Iranian companies, including Iran Air and on the Iranian port, suspected by the U.S. of spreading nuclear weapons and materials.
The Sextet - Russia, Britain, Germany, China, the United States, and France - which is involved in the negotiations with Iran still disagrees on the need for additional sanctions against Iran. In particular, China has announced that it is not the right time to take any new measures against Tehran, as members of the U.N. Security Council have already adopted five resolutions against that country. Iran is under three sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to stop its nuclear programme.
Western countries insist that Iran develops its nuclear programme for military purposes, while Tehran claims it pursues purely civilian purposes.