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Likashevich: attempts to politicise humanitarian problems in Syria unacceptable

February 07, 2014, 2:37 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 07, 2:00 /ITAR-TASS/. Attempts by some countries to politicise humanitarian issues in Syria are unacceptable and will have an adverse impact on the dialogue between the Syrian sides, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Thursday, February 6.

“Now that the inter-Syrian talks have started in Geneva, the Syrian sides, which know the situation on the ground best of all and can implement their agreements, should address humanitarian issues themselves, with objective and productive external assistance,” the diplomat said. “Attempts by some countries to politicise humanitarian issues, including through the U.N. Security Council, are absolutely unacceptable and will have the most adverse impact on the dialogue between the Syrian sides, the second round of which is scheduled to take place in Geneva on February 10.”

“The main task and problem now is how to make the Syrian sides tack to each other, primarily about humanitarian issues, and look for joint solutions to humanitarian problems in the interests of civilians,” the spokesperson said.

“We think that politicised discussions in the U.N. Security Council will have only negative consequences. They smell of provocations and won’t get our support,” he said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier stressed the need to find as soon as possible mutually acceptable solutions addressing all aspects of the Syrian crisis in the context of further inter-Syrian dialogue on the basis of full implementation of the Geneva communique of June 30, 2012.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the Joint Special Representative for Syria, wrapped up eight days of meetings in Geneva between the Syrian parties and said that he had suggested that the talks resume, on the basis of the agreed agenda, on February 10. He said that the opposition delegation had agreed to this date, while the government delegation said that it needed to consult with Damascus first.

Brahimi said that progress during the past few days of talks had been very slow, but the sides had engaged in an acceptable manner. He said that this was a modest beginning on which to build further progress.

He said that the sides were committed to discussing the full implementation of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012. The envoy also noted some areas where the parties’ positions were converging and expressed his hope that they can start to build more common ground when they meet again next time.

Asked whether the government would return to the talks, the spokesperson said that Brahimi had said that the government delegation had informed him that they intended to return but needed to check with Damascus.

Asked about potential military intervention, U.N. Spokesperson Farhan Haq reiterated the Secretary-General’s consistent belief that there can be no military solution to the crisis.

The goal of the international conference on Syria is to achieve a political solution to the three-year-long conflict through a comprehensive agreement between the two sides for the full implementation of the Geneva communique, adopted after the first international meeting on the issue on June 30, 2012, and since endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

The communique lays out key steps in a process to end the violence. Among others, 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.

“It’s very clear to both sides that the ‘meat’ of the conference is how to implement these positions in the Geneva communique,” Brahimi said.

The conference marks the first time the Syrian government and the opposition will meet for direct talks since the conflict began in March 2011. Hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Joint Envoy Brahimi, the conference took place in Switzerland in two parts, opening in Montreux on January 23, 2014, and continuing at the U.N. office in Geneva, on January 24. More than 30 nations had been invited to attend.

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