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MOSCOW, February 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Sponsors of Syria’s external opposition are setting up a new organization to place a stake on the military scenario again, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh Mohammed.
Russia is verifying the information that “some sponsors of the opposition have started to create a new structure – no matter what its name is – from the groups that have withdrawn from the Syrian National Coalition and who hamper the negotiating process and want the new organization to replace the National Coalition,” Lavrov said on Monday. “The course for withdrawing from the negotiating track and placing a stake on the military scenario has been taken. We are concerned over this.”
“We are constantly called for making more efforts to settle the Syrian conflict, they say Russia should persuade the Assad regime to fulfil Geneva communique,” he said. “It's not the first time we hear it. I regularly discuss this topic with John Kerry (US Secretary of State) on the phone and during our regular meetings. If we speak of who should do and what should be done, we need to remember several commitments.”
“First, the Geneva communique that being admitted should become an alternative-free basis for the Syrian settlement contains a call to the Syrian government to appoint a negotiator and to the Syrian opposition to appoint several negotiators,” Lavrov said. “Already then in June 2012, when the communique was adopted, all delegates to the Geneva conference realised quite well that the opposition was split. To ensure credibility of the national dialogue among the Syrians, it is necessary to bring all opponents of the regime to the negotiating table.”
Russia was expected “to help send a government delegation from Damascus to Geneva, while the United States, a co-author of the initiative, was expected to ensure credibility of Syria’s opposition forces,” the diplomat said. “In practice, we have an opposition group that represents only a part of the external opposition and is called the Syrian National Coalition that has been persuaded to go to Geneva. Ahead of its visit to Geneva Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood and another structure that was the core of the coalition, the Syrian National Council, withdrew from the National Coalition.”
“As a result, we have the coalition minus two rather serious organizations. Moreover, those opposition groups inside Syria remain overboard. They have never been members of the coalition".