ABU DHABI, May 20 (Itar-Tass) — All the G8 member countries regard a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Syria a preferable version for the development of events, said President Barack Obama, opening on Saturday the first plenary meeting of the G8 summit, now in progress in Camp David near Washington.
He confirmed that all the summiteers regard as preferable a peaceful settlement and a political transition (to new power) in Syria. The G8 backs the plan of overcoming the crisis in Syria, hammered out by special representative of the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan, Obama continued.
Nevertheless, he emphasized, the Annan plan should be fully materialized, while the political process (in Syria) should progress more rapidly.
“The Syrian crisis cannot be cut with an ax; an attempt should be made to settle it with pincers,” said the Russian president’s representative for Africa Mikhail Margelov, speaking at a briefing for reporters in Washington. He stressed that it is necessary to follow in this situation the well-known medical principle “better not to harm”.
“The most important thing for us in discussing the Syrian problem is to bring again our concern to our partners, which is formulated the following way: someone can agree or disagree with Bashar Assad, someone can like or dislike the present Syrian government and to assess in different ways the elections that passed in Syria, but one should try to give a reply to the following question: if the present government goes, who will replace it?” asked Margelov. According to the president’s representative, the situation in Syria cannot be examined apart from the so-called Arab spring which is called by some analysts “the Islamic winter”.
Margelov also underlined that Syria is one of key players in the process of reaching peace in the Middle East, and the situation in that country provokes great anxiety not only in the Arab world, but also in Israel.
In the meantime, the Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a message to the UN Security Council, notifying the international community that border areas in northern Lebanon have turned into “incubators for terrorists”, connected with Al Qaeda and “Muslim brothers”
The document claims that weapons for mutineers are stockpiled in the mountainous area of Akkar. More, hospitals and training camps for gunmen were set up there under the aegis of Islamic charity funds.
Syrian ambassador to the UN headquarters in New York Bashar al-Ja’afari informed the Security Council that warlords of the insurgent grouping “Syrian Liberation Army” shifted from Turkey to the city of Kalamun in northern Lebanon. Their plans provide for creating “a buffer zone” there, the diplomat said.
On the other hand, Lebanese premier Najib Mikati turned down claims by the Syrian side, which, according to the premier, “only whips up the situation”. He said that the Lebanese army controls the situation in the country’s north and fights smugglers delivering weapons across the border.
Commenting on the unrest of Islamists in Tripoli (90 kilometres from Beirut), the Lebanese newspaper Safir notes that “the revolution”, started a week ago in Lebanon’s northern capital by Salafit fanatics, pursues the aim of turning the region, bordering Syria, into “a base of supplies for SLA gunmen who captured Homs”.
According to Safir, the opposition Coalition of March 14 in Lebanon, relying on the support of the West and Saudi Arabia, tries, in turn, to exploit the events in Tripoli to topple the Mikati cabinet. Beirut is known to take a neutrality stand on the crisis in Syria and does not support economic sanctions, imposed by the Arab League on the authorities in Damascus.
In the meantime, UN observers based in eastern Syria, arrived at the place of the blast in the provincial centre of Deir-ez-Zor on the Euphrates. According to available information, the terror act was engineered on Saturday morning in a military compound near regional headquarters of power-wielding structures and the Air Force intelligence department.
According to the latest data, nine people were killed and around 100 were wounded. This is the first terrorist attack in the eastern province, bordering Iraq, over 14 months of rioting in Syria.
The city committee of the Party of Arab Socialist Revival (Baath Party) was attacked in northern Syria. The Lebanese Naharnet news agency reported that gunmen who wormed their way into the city of Al Bab, Aleppo province, fired at the building with a grenade launcher. According to eyewitnesses, a fierce firing engagement followed the initial attack.
Mutineers from the Syrian Liberation Army attacked a military convoy in the mountainous terrain Jebel-ez-Zaniya (Idlib province). Three armoured carriers were knocked out. The SANA news agency reports that Syrian borderguards repulsed another invasion of hirelings from Turkey in Idlib.
The armed gang was stopped near Jisr-esh-Shugura, a mountain pass, across which the strategic Latakia-Aleppo highway runs. Troops killed several gunmen, while others fled to Turkey.
An attempt to infiltrate into the country by a detachment of armed extremists was cut short near the village of Armut on the Syrian-Lebanese border.