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MOSCOW, January 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Moscow urges the League of Arab States (LAS) to help foster a dialogue between the government and the opposition in Syria as soon as possible, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a telephone conversation with LAS Secretary-General Nabil El Araby on Wednesday, January 18.
Lavrov and Araby “discussed in detail the development of the situation in the Middle East, paying special attention to the work of the mission of Arab observers in Syria within the framework of the initiative to facilitate the resolution of the internal crisis in that country without foreign interference,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Lavrov reiterated Russia’s support for the League of Arab States’s activities on Syria and stressed the importance of continuing the work of its observers in that country.
He “noted the special importance of fostering a mutually respectful dialogue between the government and the opposition at the earliest opportunity with LAS assistance in order to ensure civil peace and national accord in Syria and facilitate the resolution of the problems on the national agenda by the Syrians in the interests of all citizens of the Syrian Arab Republic”, the Foreign Ministry said.
Moscow said it is confident that an all-Syria dialogue will help prevent violence and external interference in that country, the Foreign Ministry said earlier after a meeting between Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Syrian Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad last week.
“The Syrian ambassador spoke of the efforts being taken by the Syrian leadership in order to normalise the situation in the country and carry on democratic reforms, stressed Damascus’s commitment to dialogue with the political opposition and the schedule of reforms that calls for a nationwide referendum on the draft constitution in March and elections to the Syrian parliament on a new political and legal basis in May,” the ministry said.
Bogdanov noted the need for the speediest start of a broad national dialogue with the opposition in order to effectively support the efforts aimed at stopping violence in the country, no matter where it comes from, and prevent attempts at external interference.
The diplomats welcomed the efforts of the Observer Mission of the League of Arab States in Syria that helps stabilise the situation in cooperation with the Syrian authorities, the ministry said.
At their previous meeting in late December 2011, Bogdanov “confirmed Russia’s position of principle towards assistance in the resolution of the internal crisis in Syria by the Syrians themselves and supported LAS efforts in coordination with the Syrian government in order to stop violence in the country without delay no matter where it comes from,” the ministry said.
Haddad stressed “Syria’s readiness to cooperate with the LAS observers who are arriving in the country and whose work by the highest standards of professionalism and objectivity is designed to help stabilize the situation in the country”.