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Russian UN envoy believes Syrian opposition not ready for serious talks

December 01, 2016, 9:18 UTC+3 UNITED NATIONS

A diplomat urges to recognize the failure of the ‘moderate opposition’ concept

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© EPA/SANA

UNITED NATIONS, December 1. /TASS/. The reason for the failure of the intra-Syrian talks is the fact that the opposition is completely unprepared for serious consultations, Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, told a meeting of the UN Security Council dedicated to the humanitarian situation in Syria.

"In general, we should recognize the failure of the ‘moderate opposition’ concept," he said. "It has not received any convincing expression in terms of politics, while in military terms members of the ‘moderate’ opposition have turned out to be soldiers of Al-Nusra and other extremist groups."

According to Churkin, now that humanitarian issues are considered by the UN Security Council increasingly more often, "it is time to hold a comprehensive discussion with regard to the Middle East and North Africa and organize a debate on the theme "The catastrophic consequences of destroying the statehood of the countries in the region due to outside interference."

"The number of victims is estimated in millions," he stressed. "However, we have heard no regrets on the issue from those responsible for those tragedies." The war that began with the US-British invasion of Iraq has raged on for 13 years now. The disintegration of once prosperous Libya has led to the destabilization of vast areas in North Africa. Syria has been turned into a field of competition for regional leadership when the potential of outright terrorist organizations is used without hesitation."

Moreover, the humanitarian tragedies we have heard about today are not regarded as a sufficient ground for abandoning the bankrupt policies. Some are trying to cover up the failure of their geopolitical adventures with cynical moralism and just lies. We often come across this when discussing the Syrian issue at the Security Council," the Russian diplomat said.

Churkin added that the humanitarian situation in Syria should not be discussed outside the context of other tasks outlined in the decisions of the UN Security Council and the International Syria Support Group, such as the war on terror, the political settlement and the cessation of hostilities.

Moderate opposition and terrorists

Churkin went on to say that the reason for the current situation in Syria and in Aleppo in particular is Washington’s failure to honor its commitments.

He noted that "the current situation could have been avoided, if the US had kept its promise given to us by CIA Director John Brennan at the end of February to separate the so-called moderate militants, if they exist at all, from terrorists."

"Then it was repeatedly renewed, including at the top level," Churkin went on to say. "However, no progress has been made. Apparently, we have been misled all this time. Our American partners and their allies either were really unable or had no resources to keep their promise or, which is more likely, just did not want to do that failing to abandon dangerous attempts to use terrorists for regime change in Syria."

According to Churkin, the West’s ostentatious concern about the situation in eastern Aleppo stems from the fact that "the gunmen nurtured and encouraged, including by them, are suffering a defeat there." Nearly half of that part of the city has been liberated, he added. That could be "the biggest victory won by Syrian troops since 2012, including the moral one."

A key condition for any ceasefire and the beginning of the provision of humanitarian aid is "separating the militants who are not considered terrorists from Jabhat al-Nusra," Churkin stressed. "There should be a mandatory, unequivocal and unconditional indication that terrorists placed on the Security Council’s terrorist lists should be excluded from any ceasefire regime," he said.

The ambassador recalled that Aleppo’s Castello Road had been fully liberated and can now be used by humanitarian aid convoys. He noted that the US, "with all its humanitarian rhetoric," earlier refused to guarantee that the Castello Road can be used for delivering humanitarian aid. "However, now we need neither Washington’s assistance nor the opposition’s consent," he stated. "We hope that the UN will use the Castello Road effectively.".

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