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Any talk about presence of Russian troops in Syria is lie — Syrian ambassador to Russia

September 14, 2015, 21:26 UTC+3
Damascus accuses Western countries of supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East, Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad says
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© AP Photo/Hussein Malla, Archive

MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. Any talk about presence of Russian troops in Syria is a lie, Syrian Ambassador to Moscow Riyad Haddad said on Monday.

"Any talk about presence of Russian troops in Syria is a lie propagated by Western countries and the United States," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel. "We think that a new conspiracy is being plotted against our country to penetrate into our territory under the pretext of Russian troops’ presence."

"Weapons are being supplied under the agreements that were signed between our countries rather long ago. As for Russia’s position, it is based on international law, on our sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have been cooperating with Russia in various spheres, including the defence sector, for 30-40 years. Yes, we do receive weapons, military hardware," he said.

Syria accuses Western countries of supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East, ambassador went on to say.

"Since the very beginning of the current developments in 2011 and up till now, we have to face terrorist groups that are relying on the help and support from outside. They [foreign players] called actions taken by terrorist groups, including murders, destruction, executions, seizure of property, ousting civilian population as manifestations of freedom and democracy. But as a matter of fact, they only sought to achieve a vile political goal — to bend Syria to the United States and those countries that support it," Haddad said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel.

Apart from that, the situation is aggravated by economic sanctions "imposed on Syria by the United States and those who help it," he added.

According to Haddad, the West is fighting in Syria not against but by means of Islamic State.

"From the very beginning of air strikes delivered by the coalition against Islamic State, we saw that all this leads to a reverse result," he said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel. "Islamic State is only growing stronger. These actions bring about to efficient result."

"They [the West] are fighting not against but by means of Islamic State," he stressed.

Syria’s government is ready for talks with the opposition in the framework of another United Nations-backed peace conference to resolve the Syria conflict, Syria’s ambassador to Moscow added.

"We are calling now for a new round of the ‘Moscow 3’ talks to prepare the ground for the ‘Geneva-3’ conference. We are ready for that," Haddad told Rossiya-24 television news channel. "We are not against any Syrian-Syrian dialogue. We support resolving issues through political means."

The diplomat recalled that two intra-Syrian consultative meetings of government officials and also of external and internal opposition of that country - Moscow-1 and Moscow-2 - were held last January and April in the Russian capital. They produced what was promptly dubbed as "Moscow principles", based on the principles of the Geneva Communique of June 30, 2012, including the parameters of settling the conflict, such as the preservation of Syria’s sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity and the struggle with terrorism.

"Damascus hailed and supported the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin to form a regional multi-nation anti-terrorist coalition to fight against terrorist organizations really efficiently," the Syrian diplomat said in an interview with the Rossiya-24 television channel. "We accept any help from any state in the fight against terrorism."

"When your president came out with such initiative and said that Syria and other countries should pool their efforts against terrorism, we agreed," he noted. "But Turkey was against, Saudi Arabia was against… As a matter of fact we see that only the Syria army is fighting against terrorism."

The UN has hosted two major international conferences on Syria since 2011. The Geneva Communique was adopted on June 30, 2012 at a conference of an "action group" on Syria in Geneva. That conference is now commonly referred to as "Geneva-1".

Its logical continuation, an international peace conference on Syria, dubbed Geneva-2, organised by Russia and the United States, kicked off on January 22, 2014 in Montreux, Switzerland. The conference sought to negotiate a solution to the Syrian crisis. No particular progress was reported after two rounds were held in January and February 2014. The parties to the Syrian conflict agreed to continue their discussions.

Fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels has left tens of thousands of people dead and displaced millions since its start in 2011, according to UN statistics.

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