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MOSCOW, June 8 (Itar-Tass) — Russian and US diplomats will hold in Moscow on Friday consultations on Syria. US special coordinator on Syria Fred Hof will take part in the talks. There have been no reports so far who will be Hof’s vis-a-vis, but it is clear that the RF Foreign Ministry’s negotiator will be a high-ranking official.
“We are in active dialogue with the US administration on Syria,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “This is normal practice.” It is very interesting what proposals will be made by the American envoy and whether Hof’s mission will be crowned with success. In the meantime, news agencies have transmitted many highly controversial statements of US officials. One day Washington pledges strong support to the plan of the UN and League of Arab States Special Envoy Kofi Annan in the politico-diplomatic methods of work on the Syrian track, and then, as if exploring the ground, it hints at the possibility of a force scenario. There have been continued calls for Bashar al-Assad’s stepping down.
Moscow has made it clear that the destiny of the Damascus regime should be decided by Syrians themselves, and it will certainly not allow the approval of the Libyan scenario in the UN Security Council. In response to Russia’s strict adherence to the letter of international law, there have been continued accusations of Moscow voiced in a number of Western capitals saying that the Russian partners allegedly destabilise the situation around Syria. The proposal to convene an international conference on the Syrian issue with the participation of all external players, including those having direct influence on the armed opposition, was the litmus test of the true intentions of Moscow.
The author of the initiative - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, has already stated that some countries may ignore the conference. It is understandable, perhaps the “Friends of Syria” format is much more convenient for the implementation of advantageous for them “political transformations.”
Meanwhile, the diplomatic battles are accompanied by an apogee of an information campaign against Syria. There have been reports of a new massacre in the area of the town of Hama. The opposition, as expected, was not slow to take advantage of this for blaming the Syrian regular army for all. However, the “modus operandi” of the tragedy, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, resembles the massacre in the village of Al Houla.
“We condemn these barbaric acts of violence,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. “Their perpetrators must be brought to justice and punished.” “There is no doubt that certain forces have resorted to vile provocations to disrupt the Kofi Annan plan, and the consolidation of efforts in support of the Annan plan should be a response to this,” he said.
So far, in the opinion of a number of experts, the Syrian developments cause in them a sense of deja vu - the Balkans scenario of 1999.