Double standards hamper Syrian settlement - Lavrov
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the Syrian opposition of attempts to disrupt the implementation of Kofi Annan’s plan. By doing this, the Syrian opposition violates a resolution of the UN Security Council, which fully okays the Annan plan, Mr. Lavrov says.
The plan suggested by Kofi Annan, once UN Secretary General, and now an envoy of the US and the Arab League to Syria, supposes that to stop the civil war in Syria, both of the conflicting sides, the government and the opposition, should immediately lay down arms. The Syrian government seems to agree to that. But the opposition is not inclined to lay down arms. Moreover, in its fight against the government, the Syrian opposition doesn’t stop at such methods as terrorist acts, taking hostages, executions of servicemen loyal to the Assad regime, and killing civilians.
“Such incidents are so frequent that I suppose that this is the deliberate policy of the Syrian opposition,” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says.
“Reports that the Syrian opposition has exploded a bomb or has attacked civilians come practically every day,” Mr. Lavrov says. “As a rule, these terrorist acts are committed by the so-called Free Syrian Army and other terrorist organizations, some of which are linked with Al Qaeda. Besides, it is no secret that the Syrian opposition – if terrorists can be called opposition – are financed or supplied with arms by certain forces from abroad. I have no doubts that these forces are trying to disrupt the implementation of Kofi Annan’s plan.”
Several days ago, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous claimed that besides the government and the opposition, there is a certain “third force” in – or, probably, outside – Syria, which is not interested in a peaceful settlement of the Syrian conflict. Certain terrorist groups, Mr. Ladsous said, are probably trying to take advantage of the chaos in Syria for some aims of their own.
The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavorov says that the Russian authorities are now constantly in touch with the Syrian authorities, trying – and not without success – to persuade them to follow the Annan plan and to cooperate with the UN observers in Syria.
However, all Russia’s efforts may be annulled by the double standards, to which some other states and international organizations seem to adhere, insisting that Bashar Assad’s regime should lay down arms, but not demanding the same from the opposition.
“This is a very dangerous policy,” Mr. Lavrov believes. “This may make the Syrian conflict spread over to the neighboring Lebanon.”
“Taking into account the ethnic and the confessional composition of Lebanon’s population, this scenario is very possible,” Sergey Lavrov says. “The events in Syria are aggravating a conflict between Sunnis and Shiites there, and this may stir a similar conflict in Lebanon as well.”
“The world community – both the West and the Moslem countries – should try its best to prevent the Syrian conflict from spreading over to Lebanon. Let us hope that the Lebanese would be wise enough to prevent a civil war in their country before it is too late.”
Recently, a bus with Lebanese Shiites, who were returning from a pilgrimage to Iran, was attacked by armed rebels in Syria’s north. The attackers captured 12 men from the bus, and their fate is still unknown.
At present, the Lebanese party Hezbollah is actively trying to find these captured Shiites. But this may only cause worry, because Hezbollah is known as a radical Islamist organization.
A clash between supporters and opponents of Syria’s current regime has already been witnessed in Lebanon itself. The clash took place in the Lebanese capital Beirut on May 21, and 2 people were killed and 18 wounded as a result.
“I would like to address those who are trying to stir up the conflict in Syria,” Mr. Lavrov says. “I would like to ask them: please say openly and honestly, what do you really want, what are you trying to gain by this? If you want Bashar Assad’s regime to be overthrown, why don’t you openly confess of this?”
“Let me remind you,” Mr. Lavrov continued, “that it was the policy of double standards, carried out by some countries, that sharply aggravated the political crisis in Iraq and a similar one in Libya. In fact, in both cases, in Iran and in Libya, NATO interfered with force, although this openly violated the UN Security Council’s resolutions. In both cases, NATO did not conceal that its real aim was to overthrow “undemocratic” political regimes in these countries.”
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is also very worried about the civil war in Syria. Recently, Mr. Ban said that the Syrian conflict has reached a critical point and that it has to be solved as soon as possible.
However, the US authorities believe that if the Assad regime falls, the world would have to immediately send forces into Syria in order to control weapon arsenals there. US instructors have already started to train Jordanian servicemen for this purpose.