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Moscow ready to send observers to Syria

December 05, 2011, 22:06 UTC+3

If we get such a request from the Syrian authorities or opposition or mainly from LAS, we are ready to join in

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MOSCOW, December 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia is ready to send observers to Syria is such a request comes from the Syrian authorities or opposition or the League of Arab States (LAS), Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

“If we get such a request from the Syrian authorities or opposition or mainly from LAS, we are ready to join in,” he told Itar-Tass on Monday, December 5.

He believes that the presence of LAS observers in Syria could “generate an additional opportunity for Syrian settlement”.

“Russia called on all parties to the Syrian crisis from very beginning and certainly on the authorities in Damascus to interact with the League of Arab States most flexibly, quickly and fully and support the initiative [on settlement],” the diplomat said. “Official Damascus supported the plan on the whole, but there were questions that required additional consultations,” he said.

According to Bogdanov, the question of implementation mechanisms arose logically. “The mechanism includes the presence of LAS observers, objective observers to monitor the implementation of the road map,” he said.

Moscow gave full support to that approach and worked with Syrian partners in Damascus seriously, persistently and patiently in order to “convey to them our understanding of what should be done and how”, the deputy foreign minister added.

“Now the leadership of the republic has made the relevant decision, not without Russian recommendations, we think. The authorities are ready to sign a protocol on the terms of work of the observers who will monitor the implementation of the League’s initiative concerning political resolution of the crisis without foreign, let alone armed, interference through broad dialogue between all political forces in Syria,” Bogdanov said.

If this moves in this direction, this will “fully agree with Russia’s understanding of how to resolve existing problems. This will indicate that the Syrian leadership has assumed a reasonable and balanced position,” he said.

Moscow hopes that “this will create an additional opportunity for a peaceful political settlement through dialogue between the Syrians in the interests of the people of the country”, the diplomat said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier 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 in late November.

“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.

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 Foreign Ministry 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.

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.

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