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Moscow warns Damascus against bloodshed

November 15, 2011, 12:45 UTC+3
According to The Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the Syrian government blames armed groups of militants for the unrest
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MOSCOW, November 15 (Itar-Tass) The resolution of the Arab League on the suspension of Syria’s membership in that organisation comes into force on Wednesday, The Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. When demonstrations against the resolution of the Arab League were at its peak, Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, came to Damascus and urged to avoid a civil war. The Russian Foreign Ministry will, most probably, say the same thing to representatives of the Syrian opposition, who are coming to Moscow on Tuesday.

According to The Nezavisimaya Gazeta, the Syrian government blames armed groups of militants for the unrest and says that hundreds of soldiers and policemen were killed. Previously it accepted the proposals of the Arab League, which included the release of prisoners, the withdrawal of the security forces from the cities and the beginning of talks between the authorities and the opposition. Nevertheless, the Syrian authorities continued to resort to force against the demonstrators, especially in the city of Homs, where he opposition is strong.

Hamad bin Jasim bin Jabir Al Thani, prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, demanded that the Syrian security forces should stop immediately outrages against the civilian population. At the same time, he suggested that the Syrian opposition leaders should come to the central office of the Arab League in Cairo for consultations.

Representatives of the Syrian National Council received a similar invitation from Moscow – to come for holding talks about the settlement of the explosive situation. They are coming to the Russian capital on Tuesday. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, “Russia feels responsible for the taking of all possible measures, needed for the beginning of a dialogue between the Syrian conflicting parties and for starting talks with the participation of all groups of the Syrian opposition.” Responding to questions of journalists, Lavrov said: “During the coming meeting in Moscow we shall persuade the representatives of the Syrian opposition to act in a more constructive way and to keep in mind the future of their country and of their nation. This is the most important thing.”

Mikhail Margelov, head of the Federation Council committee for international affairs, special representative of the Russian President for cooperation with African countries, commented on the situation in an interview with The Nezavisimaya Gazeta. “Syria is facing the threat of the suspension of its membership in the Arab League, political isolation in the Arab world and economic sanctions. The Arab League insists on the fulfilment of all items of the ‘road map’ on the settlement of the situation, suggested by it to the Syrian leaders. It should be mentioned in this connection that President Bashar Assad began to put into effect the recommendations of the Arab League: parliamentary elections are scheduled for February, a law on political parties is being drafted etc. The thing is that, in addition to all that, the Arab League demands from Syria the termination of bloodshed, the withdrawal of troops from a number of cities and the release of prisoners, and urges the Syrian leaders to start a dialogue with the opposition.”

“Besides, Assad’s actions, aimed at fulfilling the demands of the Arab Leagues, go together with tough suppression of various demonstrations. This irritates the opposition. Part of the opposition refuses to hold a dialogue with the authorities altogether. In other words, the Syrian authorities are driving themselves into the corner, because the bloodshed overshadows the steps, taken for achieving the settlement. There is no reason to believe that the Libyan scenario will be repeated in Syria, but it would be suitable to remind that the stand of the Arab League with regard to Libya promoted the putting of the scenario into effect in that country. In this case the suspension of Syria’s membership if the Arab League looks as the refusal of that organisation to take an active part in the Syrian settlement.”

 

 

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