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MOSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for looking for mutually acceptable compromises without ultimatums in order to resolve the crisis in Syria.
“It is necessary to look for agreed-upon compromises without ultimatums in order to resolve the crisis in Syria and other countries in the region,” Lavrov said at a meeting with the ambassadors of Arab countries and the Office of the League of Arab States in Moscow on Monday, November 28.
“Russia’s position of principle is that the internal political problems should be resolved peacefully, no matter how acute they are, through national dialogue aimed at achieving public consensus, and without external interference,” he said.
“We are interested to further strengthen cooperation between Russia and the LAS member states for the sake of stronger peace and security in the region, successful resolution of key problems in the Middle East and North Africa,” the minister said.
“It is important to use existing foreign policy tools effectively, including Russia’s participation in the work of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum mechanisms and the strategic dialogue between Russia and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf,” Lavrov said.
Russia also calls for using the potential of the League of Arab States in full.
Moscow “is closely watching the efforts taken by the League in search for a speedy peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis within the Arab framework without external interference”, the Foreign Ministry said.
“We believe that a priority task is to preserve the unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria as one of the key countries in the Middle East, prevent further escalation of inter-religious and inter-ethnic confrontation. We think it necessary to use the potential of the LAS initiative and other possibilities in full in order to stop violence, no matter where it comes from, receive full objective information on that score and begin inter-Syrian dialogue as soon as possible. This would make it possible to normalise the situation in the country and promptly carry out political and socio-economic reforms in accordance with the aspirations of the Syrian people,” the ministry said.
Stopping violence in Syria, regardless of its source, is the main goal, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Syrian Ambassador in Moscow Riyad Haddad said at their meeting on November 26.
“The sides confirmed that the main goal is to stop violence in Syria immediately, regardless of its source, and to resolve all internal problems in the country through a comprehensive national dialogue towards democratisation, political, social and economic reforms and in the interests of all Syrians,” the Foreign Ministry said.
“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 earlier.
“The confirmation by Damascus on November 4 of the release of 553 arrested people and the declaration of amnesty for the rebels who would agree to lay down arms” became an important step in this context, it 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.
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.
In a telephone conversation with LAS Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby earlier, 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 Kremlin stressed that Russia’s position has not changed. “We urge the Syrian leadership to consistently carry out the reforms it has declared,” a source in the presidential administration said.
“We remain critical about possible sanctions against Syria,” he said, adding that the United States and the European Union have already imposed sanctions against that country.
“The main question is to implement consistently the reforms ... stop violence and prevent casualties,” the source said.
President Dmitry Medvedev sent a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier, urging the authorities and the opposition to stop violence and start declared reforms in the country.
“In the course of the conversation, while discussing the situation in Syria, the Russian side placed the main emphasis on the need for an urgent and full stop to violence on either side, and for immediate concrete steps to carry out the reforms declared by the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the presidential press service said.
“It was also stressed that the opposition should not avoid the dialogue proposed by the authorities because this is the only way to restore civil peace and accord and Syria’s movement along the road of democratic reforms,” it said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged all sides in Syria to refrain from violence and continue to look for fair and lawful solutions to burning problems.