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Only mutual efforts can stop standoff in Syria – Russian FM

April 06, 2012, 19:18 UTC+3

All responsibility for the current events in Syria rests upon the government

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MOSCOW, April 6 (Itar-Tass) —— All responsibility for the current events in Syria rests upon the government, but the current standoff may be brought to an end only on the basis of reciprocity, the deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s press and information department, Maria Zakharova, said on the eve of the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem’s visit to Moscow, due on April 9.

On the agenda of Muallem’s visit will be talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The two men will exchange opinion on a number of crucial international and regional issues, in the first place, the no easy situation in Syria and around it.

“Russia will go ahead with its fundamental policy of securing an early end to bloodshed and a peace settlement in Syria without foreign intervention,” Zakharova said. “Our approaches are objective and balanced, which enables us to work with Damascus, where the Russian position evokes gratitude and profound respect, and with the oppositional groups, whose leaders are aware of the important and crucial role Russia plays in the Middle East.”

Moscow is not in the habit of making friends with some to the detriment of others, it proceeds from the need to promote the search for ways of letting the Syrians themselves overcome the crisis in Syria, and it demonstrates in reality its commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of that country and the high goals and principles of the UN Charter.”

“Efforts by the UN and LAS special envoy Kofi Anan have produced chances of achieving a lasting ceasefire in Syria and of putting the events on the political track, including the opportunity for launching a comprehensive intra-Syrian dialogue involving the government and the entire spectrum of oppositional groups,” Zakharova said. Russia, she recalled, actively supports Kofi Annan’s mission, whose proposals for specific steps towards a peace settlement in Syria have received the unanimous backing of the UN Security Council.

“The Syrian government also agreed with Kofi Annan’s plan and, starting from April 1, it began to act on its obligations under that document, first and foremost, it stopped using heavy weapons in residential areas and began to withdraw troops from communities,” Zakharova said. “Damascus promised to comply with all of its liabilities by April 10, after which the parties to the hostilities are to achieve a lasting truce within 48 hours.

The humanitarian aspect is a very special feature of Russia’s attitude to the Syrian crisis.

“Russia systematically presses for the need for easing the suffering of Syrian civilians, including direct criticism of mistakes, committed by the Syrian authorities in dispersing civil protests at the early phase of the crisis,” Zakharova said. “We resolutely demand a stop to any violence by all parties. We encourage the Syrian leadership to move on towards democratic change in the interests of all Syrians.”

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