MOSCOW, March 11 (Itar-Tass) — Russia and the League of Arab States (LAS) have agreed in Cairo upon five principles of the peaceful settlement in Syria. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who participated in Cairo in a ministerial session of this pan-Arab organisation, announced a joint statement on the subject.
“1. Cessation of violence from all sides.
2. An impartial monitoring mechanism.
3. No external interference.
4. Unhindered access of humanitarian aid to all Syrians.
5. Strong support of Kofi Annan’s mission for the beginning of a political dialogue between the government and all opposition groups in accordance with the mandate in the sphere of competence approved by the UN Secretary-General and the Arab League,” the document says.
RF Foreign Minister Lavrov and the LAS foreign ministers “exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa region in the context of the fundamental transformations taking place in a number of Arab countries.” “The need for concerted actions to settle the internal political problems emerging in countries of the region by peaceful means, through a national dialogue aimed at achieving social consensus on the ways of overcoming the crisis and implementing the needed reforms was emphasised,” the Russian Foreign Ministry informed on Sunday. The unacceptability of attempts of military-political intervention in the crisis under various, including humanitarian, pretexts, the inadmissibility of the imposition from the outside of prescriptions and schemes for the settlement of internal problems of sovereign countries was stressed.”
The situation in Syria and some other Arab countries was considered from these positions. The parties reaffirmed “the general consensus on the need for the earliest stopping of all violence in Syria, a responsible approach by all sides of the internal Syrian confrontation in the interests of the political settlement through the inter-Syrian dialogue.” “In this connection, special hopes are pinned on the mission of Kofi Annan as the Special Envoy of the UN and Arab League,” the ministry said.
It should be noted that prior to approval of the joint statement, not all participants in the Cairo meeting demonstrated a constructive attitude to the Syrian settlement. In particular, Qatari Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani has defended the Syrian armed opposition. “Armed groups in Syria are not gangs of thugs, as Damascus has claimed, but the people who defend themselves and their country,” said Sheikh Hamad who also urged to recognise the Syrian opposition National Council as the “legal representative” and send a joint Arab and international military contingent to Syria.
However, other meeting participants did not heed the calls of Qatar. The speech by the Russian diplomacy head was welcomed with applause at the session.