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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov: Moscow has no plans for war with anyone

August 26, 2013, 17:18 UTC+3

West’s statements on Syria run counter the agreements reached at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, official reminds

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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Anton Novoderezhkin

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, August 26 (Itar-Tass) -“We are not going to war with anyone,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference on Monday, August 26, replying to a question about Russia’s possible reaction to possible military strikes on Syria.

“We understand restrictions on strategic thinking that are connected with very frequent electoral cycles when voters’ expectations have to be fulfilled, expectations that are whipped up by the ruling circles themselves. This is life. It’s bad that the rules of international law become increasingly insignificant for our Western partners, at least for leading Western countries,” the minister said.

“Those who think that this is the way to establish laws that existed at the time of lawlessness are short-sighted. This will boomerang on them sooner or later anyway,” Lavrov said.

“I heard Paris and London say NATO can interfere to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria without the authorization of the U.N. Security Council. This is very dangerous.”, Lavrov said, adding “I hope that common sense will prevail. We should think jointly to create conditions for reaching reconciliation and expressing tolerance to ethnic and religious minorities,” the minister said.

G8 summit agreements

The West’s statements on Syria run counter the agreements reached at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Lavrov reminded.

“The hysteria is growing. Fighting means are being intensified. Threats are becoming oftener to use force against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad,” Lavrov said.

“Washington said it had proof that the Syrian authorities were guilty of the events in East Ghouta. Washington says the red line had crossed,” the Russian minister said.

“This runs counter the agreements reached by the G8 leaders in Lough Erne. They said any use of chemical weapons should be investigated,” he added.

Russia urges the Western countries “to act in a responsible way and not to repeat the mistakes of the past”, in particular the scenarios in Iraq and Libya, Lavrov said.

“We’ve discussed such scenarios: force has never ensured security or improved people’s life. At present, the situation is instable in the region,” he said.

All efforts taken by the international community should be aimed at expelling terrorists from the country and preventing confrontation in the region. “We should give common and clear signals to the government and the opposition to settle the conflict by direct dialogue,” Lavrov said.

Chemical attack allegations

The international community should wait for results of the U.N. investigation into alleged chemical attacks in Syria, Russia's top foreign official said.

“We must wait for the results of the U.N. inspectors’ investigation in Syria, if they do not run into obstacles, of course,” the minister added.

Reports on the chemical attack in East Ghouta are aimed at wrecking the Geneva-2 conference on Syria, Lavrov believes.

He said: “Information on the chemical attack in East Ghouta was spread when the Russian and American experts prepared the Geneva-2 conference.”

“No doubts the hysteria will wreck the convocation of the forum. Maybe, this is one of the goals that its authors pursue,” the minister said.

UN experts

Russia expresses bewilderment about the fact that the West does not take care of evidence when it had blocked the arrival of U.N. inspectors in Syria, Lavrov said.

Speaking at a news conference on Monday, Lavrov said: “Those who want to realize the military scenario cannot consent with yesterday’s agreements under which the Syrian government allowed U.N. experts to visit the areas where chemical weapons had been used.”

“One says this agreement was late. Any evidence can be destroyed in five days. The question is why our Western partners do not take care of preserving evidence when they had blocked the arrival of U.N. experts to investigate the chemical attack in Khal al Assal,” the minister said.

Expert verdict

U.N. inspectors have no task to bring a verdict who used chemical weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, adding: “Experts, who are staying in Syria, have a mandate to determine if chemical weapons were used in Syria.”

“The experts have no mandate to bring a verdict on who used chemical weapons - the government or the opposition,” the minister said.

The G8 summiteers decided that an objective and professional investigation should be conducted. Then their results should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council, he said.

“Of course, the U.N. Security Council will take into account all information based on the analytical and factual materials placed on the Internet and other mass media,” Lavrov said.

Geneva conference

 It is unreal to hold the Geneva-2 conference on Syria in September, the Foreign Minister stated.

“We should decide on the substance of problems to prepare the conference. I believe that then we’ll be able to agree on the date,” Lavrov said.

The position of the Syrian regime’s opponents is too negative to deal with the convocation of the Geneva-2 conference, the minister said, adding that Iran’s participation was one of the key problems.

“Iran plays the most important role related to what has happened in Syria. Certain states hope to take part in the conference. But their position is that Iran has no right,” he said.

“At present, the key task is to determine the date of the Geneva-2 conference. It is necessary to come to final agreement on the participants in the conference,” Lavrov said.

U.S. position

He also added that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had confirmed  commitment to holding the Geneva-2 conference on Syria.

“John Kerry pledged to study our arguments. Then he will phone me to continue the conversation on this issue,” Lavrov said.

On Sunday, August 25, Lavrov and Kerry discussed the situation in Syria in light of reports on the use of chemical weapons. Lavrov said he was deeply concerned about the U.S. interference into the Syrian conflict.

Syrian opposition

The Syrian opposition comes against the talks and mass media reports on the chemical attack in Damascus’ suburbs hampers them, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

“The events prove that as soon as there is any chance to start a political process attempts are made to change the regime by force,” Lavrov told a news conference.

“The opposition agrees that the regime capitulates,” the minister said.

The information campaign around the events in East Ghouta will have an impact on preparing the Geneva-2 conference on Syria. “Maybe, there is one of the goals that the authors pursued,” he said.

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