MOSCOW, February 13 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his visiting counterpart from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Abdallah bin Zayid Al Nuhayyan will meet here on Monday to discuss the Syrian crisis and the prospects for the LAS observer mission to resume.
The Syrian crisis remains the top international problem, observers said. Sergei Lavrov is expected to brief his UAE counterpart on his recent visit to Damascus and will seek to convince the latter of the need for a political settlement of the Syrian problem. The negotiators will also discuss the prospects for the LAS observer mission to resume in Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier appealed to the Syrian opposition to support the protocol on the legal status of the LAS observer mission signed on December 19, 2011. “We assume that its work in Syria is needed not only for an unbiased reporting of the current events, but also should pursue the goals to contain and deescalate tensions,” a diplomatic source in the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Experts believe that forthcoming Moscow negotiations will be difficult, because ‘the diplomatic war’ against the Syrian rule reached its peak. Even Bashar Assad’s pledges to hold a referendum for a new constitution and launch the dialogue with the opposition do not improve a current tense situation. Foreign ambassadors are leaving the Syrian capital. The Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, which includes the United Arab Emirates, recalled its ambassadors and is about to debate the recognition of the Syrian National Council “as a legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”
The appeals for resignation are made to Bashar Assad more and more frequently. The oppositionists have already taken a quite tough position, particularly the leader of the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, stated that he “will enter into negotiations for the transfer of power only if Assad steps down immediately.”
Many Arab and Western media stated that the ruling regime is losing control over the Syrian territory and already cannot lead the country out of the crisis. The financial and economic situation in Syria is deteriorating sharply, the national currency is devaluating, people are making queues not only for gas and fuel oil, but also for bread and first necessities. Experts noted a serious threat for the Libyan scenario to recur in Syria.
Along with the Syrian crisis the ministers will discuss the general situation in the region, as well as the build-up of bilateral cooperation in trade, investments, energy and other spheres in view of a broader strategic dialogue between Russia and the Cooperation Council of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf that was launched at the first ministerial meeting in November 2011.