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Russia and the West have found compromising solutions on Syria

July 02, 2012, 13:19 UTC+3

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that he is satisfied with the results of an international conference on Syria

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MOSCOW, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that he is satisfied with the results of an international conference on Syria, at which high-ranking officials from the world powers agreed on the principles for the conflict settlement in the country. The conference ended with the approval of a new action plan, particularly three of four amendments were approved.

The participants in the Action Group for Syria have developed perfect wishes, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. They condemned violence, confirmed the status of special envoy Kofi Annan, appealed to peace talks and reforms and said that they are ready to help with money. But the most important thing is that the sovereignty and independence of Syria were confirmed, the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported. “Therefore, a military operation against Damascus is not in question so far. It looks like to be a major merit of Russia,” the newspaper believes.

Kommersant sources in the Russian delegation called the results of the meeting “moderately positive”, as three out of four amendments initiated by Russia were approved at the meeting. In particular, the document contained a clause that the Syrians should determine the Syrian future themselves. Meanwhile, the Western position was not really changed. The United States still intends to seek for Bashar Assad’s ousting from power. Moscow is not ready for this yet, the newspaper believes.

Russia has initiated four amendments to the text of the declaration in Geneva, the Kommersant daily reported. First, Russia demanded to cross out an appeal to the UN Security Council to take further measures against Syria. Secondly, Moscow suggested introducing a strict ban on any illegal weapon supplies to all parties in the Syrian conflict. Thirdly, the country suggested granting the right to journalists for the free access to the information about the current events in the country plunged in the armed conflict. Finally, Russia insists on some changes in those clauses of the document that spells out the procedure to reach a truce. “The document holds that the synchronous ceasefire should take place, after the government withdraws the troops from the cities. But in that case the opposition will take all left positions immediately,” Sergei Lavrov told reporters then, noting that eventually the clause about the preliminary withdrawal of the troops was dropped from the document. Only one Russian amendment on illegal weapon supplies was not approved.

Meanwhile, one cannot say about cardinal changes in the Western position on Syria. Hillary Clinton has made a sincere statement that Assad will have to step down all the same. A Kommersant source in the Russian delegation recommended to the US state secretary to read the approved action plan, which does not contain such clauses. He suggested that now “the Western countries will seek to introduce all clauses, which were not included in the Geneva document, directly through the UN Security Council.”

According to experts, nothing essentially new was offered in Geneva for the settlement of the Syrian conflict. “It is unclear who could be included in a new body of power. Bashar Assad has already formed the ministry for national reconciliation and believes that this is enough,” expert of the Carnegie Centre Alexei Malashenko told the newspaper.

The meeting of the Action Group, which ended in Geneva, showed the capability of Russia and the West to come to terms on Syria, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily reported. Meanwhile, the Geneva meeting showed the incapability of this and other negotiating formats to achieve a quick end to bloodshed in Syria. The reporters asked the US state secretary at a press conference now the participants in the conference will put into practice the peacemaking roadmap approved in Geneva. But instead of concrete deadlines and real steps, which should launch the dialogue between Assad’s rule and the opposition, they received a vague pledge to create a certain “transitional ruling organization” in Syria. But it will be not a provisional government, how Western media hurried to name this structure, which is designed only for establishing political contacts.

The amendments approved in Geneva to Kofi Annan’s peace plan enacted by the UN Security Council before is an attempt of Russia and the West to find “moderate wordings,” which could have showed the unity of the world community to the conflicting parties. Meanwhile, these wordings should not have bound hands and foot to the forces behind the official Syrian authorities and separate opposition groups. Without going into details and numerous links of the resolution approved in Geneva one can say in general that the resolution is a decent declaration of intents of the world community to Syria.

The Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily believes that a major threat for the resolutions on Syria approved by the world community comes from the fact that the armed conflict may grow from a political into religious conflict between the Sunni Muslims and the Shiite Alawites. The reports coming from Syria point to murders out of religious strife in the country, the signs, which the Sunni Muslims are making on the fences of the Shiite houses at night. Annan’s peace plan intends to reconcile the civil society. The peace plan is not efficient for the inter-religious conflict. However, the participants in the Syrian meeting did not try to notice this most dangerous scenario in Syria not to get in a deadlock when drafting the final resolution.

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