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Syrian opposition should start political dialogue with government – FM

November 12, 2012, 17:59 UTC+3

“Our priority is to contribute to ceasing bloodshed as soon as possible, save human beings’ lives," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said

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MOSCOW, November 12 (Itar-Tass) — The unification of the Syrian opposition may be useful if it launches a political dialogue with the government, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said on Monday.

Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said Russia called for settling the conflict in Syria by peaceful means and by Syrians themselves without using force.

“After long discussions on November 11, the participants agreed to form the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces. The new structure is led by Sheikh Muaz al-Khatib, a former preacher and Imam of the Umayyad mosque. Former parliamentarian Riad Seif and political youth activist Suhair Atassi are his deputies. According to mass media reports, they seek to overthrow the regime in Damascus and exclude any dialogue or talks with it. The Coalition for Opposition hopes to get international recognition and to form an interim government. It also hopes to convene a founding meeting when the authorities in power fall,” Lukashevich said.

“The main criterion is to the participants’ readiness to act by peaceful means without external interference, through dialogue and talks,” the high-ranking diplomat stressed. “In compliance with the agreements recorded in the Geneva communique by the Action Group we will continue contacts with the Syrian government and all opposition groups based on the constructive approach,” he said.

“Our priority is to contribute to ceasing bloodshed as soon as possible, save human beings’ lives and launch the transition political process in Syria. We believe that those who really think about democracy in Syria and respect its sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity should be guided by the U.N. Security Council corresponding resolutions and the Geneva communique,” Lukashevich pointed out.


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