VIENNA, March 28 (Itar-Tass) – The decision of the League of Arab States (LAS) to transfer the Syrian mandate in the LAS to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCR) may lead to the further escalation of the conflict, President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), former Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov told reporters during a working visit to Austria.
“The League of Arab States bears huge responsibility for the situation in the country. And it should play a political role, and not to send arms to the country in conflict,” Ivanov stressed.
According to him, “The decision to place representatives of the Syrian opposition in the Arab League is a big mistake.” “The international community should not supply arms to the country, but sit down at the negotiating table with the conflict sides,” the diplomat said.
According to Ivanov, who headed the Russian Foreign Ministry from 1998 to 2004, “any decision must begin with stopping the bloodshed.” “Moreover, it is impossible to start negotiations, putting forward the precondition that Assad must go,” he stated. “If he leaves, anarchy will begin.”
Speaking of whom Moscow would like to see as Syria’s leader if President Assad after all steps down, Ivanov said that he should be a person, “chosen by the Syrian people.” “In any case, the civil war in Syria - it is a tragedy of the whole world community, as we cannot stop the war,” the diplomat concluded.
In November 2011, the Arab League decided to suspend Syria’s membership in the organisation. At the summit of the Arab League in Doha another anti-Syrian step was taken: a delegation of the NCR was invited to the meeting and it was granted the right to occupy in the meeting hall the places of Syrian officials. NCR leader Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib in his speech called for increasing various kinds of assistance to the opposition, including foreign force intervention by way of establishing - on the Libyan model – of no-fly zones over the north of the country.