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Sergei Lavrov: If US uses force against Syria, Geneva II to be in limbo

September 02, 2013, 22:35 UTC+3

“I have strong doubts that the opposition will become more compliant after a strike," Foreign Minister said

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Photo ITAR-TASS / Michael Pochuev

Photo ITAR-TASS / Michael Pochuev

MOSCOW, September 2 (Itar-Tass) - If the United States uses force against Syria, the international conference on the resolution of the Syrian conflict commonly known as Geneva II will be thrown far back or may not even be held at all, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“I have strong doubts that the opposition will become more compliant after a strike. If the action announced by the U.S. president takes place to our profound regret, it will throw the forum far back, if not forever,” Lavrov said after talks with his South African colleague Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday, September 2.

“But political settlement will prevail in some other form anyway. It’s just we have to understand that the more we delay it, the more casualties we will see among civilians,” the minister said.

Nkoana-Mashabane agreed that Geneva II would be the only solution to the Syrian crisis.

At their talks in Moscow on May 7, Lavrov and Kerry agreed to hold an international conference on the basis of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, in order to try to overcome the crisis in Syria.

Lavrov and Kerry said that their countries would encourage both the Syrian government and opposition groups to look for a political solution.

As the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States for the Syrian Crisis, Brahimi has consistently called on the U.S. and Russia to exercise leadership and work together to initiate a process to implement the Geneva Declaration of June 30, 2012.

That document - issued after a meeting in the Swiss city of the Action Group for Syria - lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among other items, it calls for the establishment of a transitional governing body, with full executive powers and made up by members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, as part of agreed principles and guidelines for a Syrian-led political transition.

Russia remains convinced that there is no alternative to a political settlement in Syria, Lavrov said.

Russian and American experts were scheduled to meet in The Hague on August 28 to prepare the international conference on Syria, commonly referred to Geneva II. But the meeting did not take place.

“We should, against all the odds, seek the earliest convocation of the Geneva II conference in accordance with the Russian-U.S. initiative adopted on May 7 of this year,” Lavrov said earlier.

“We need to do everything to move towards realisation of the assigned goals: the unification of efforts of the Syrian government and opposition to eradicate terrorism and oust terrorists from Syria,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“The government and opposition should reach an agreement in principle on how a transition period should take place in Syria. It should be based on common accord between the government and the opposition,” Lavrov said.


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