US ready to hold Geneva-2 only after bombing Syria - Lavrov
"We still believe there is no alternative to political settlement. In this connection, I do not accept that anybody has doubts about the need to convene the Geneva conference to implement the communique adopted on June 30 last year," Lavrov said.
"Even American partners who have decided to strike against Syria based on some super-convincing information which is at the same time top secret and cannot be shown to anybody, even they all the same prefer a political approach," the minister added. "And after they bomb Syria, they will be ready for convening the conference called Geneva-2."
But calls were addressed to the United States now not to be limited to precise strikes and to bomb wider and deeper, he noted. If action announced by the United States took place despite words spoken about Geneva, it would postpone prospects for the forum, if not for ever, he added.
Syria is not on the agenda of the G20 summit, but Russia is prepared for the talks on the situation around the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after the negotiations with his visiting South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on Monday.
"The Group of Twenty was created to solve exclusively financial and economic problems," Lavrov recalled.
"The Syrian issue is not on the agenda of a G20 summit in St. Petersburg. But any leader can raise this issue," he said.
"We will be prepared for these talks," the minister added.
A planned peace conference in Geneva to end the conflict in Syria will be put off for a long time "if not forever" if the US goes ahead with military action against the Damascus regime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Monday.
"If the action announced by the US President (Barack Obama) - to the great regret of all of us - does in fact take place... it will put off the chances of (holding) this conference for a long time, if not forever", Lavrov said at a news conference with his South African counterpart.
Russia hopes to keep "a high pace of cooperation with the Republic of South Africa," particularly in economy, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said here on Monday, opening the negotiations with his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.
"This year two Russian-South African summits were held, the protocol for comprehensive strategic partnership was signed," Lavrov recalled. "Our current task is to keep 'a high pace of cooperation' with South Africa," he said. The Russian minister also noted that he intends to discuss "the most acute, critical situations" in the Middle East and Africa with Nkoana-Mashabane. "I hope that our negotiations will remain regular as before," he said.
For her part, the South African foreign minister noted that she is looking forward for a meeting with Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology Sergei Donskoy, who is the main Russian negotiator with South Africa.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called odd the statements of his US colleague John Kerry that Washington produced irrefutable evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Syria to but that Russia denies this evidence.
"It is very strange to hear, when we recently discussed the issue, my good colleague, US Secretary of State John Kerry say that the American side had produced irrefutable evidence for Russia of the Assad regime using chemical weapons and then claiming that Russians deliberately refused to recognize the fact," Lavrov told students of the Moscow Foreign Relations University (MGIMO) on Monday.
The evidence produced by Washington for Moscow of the Syrian regime allegedly using chemical weapons is not concrete and has not convinced Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said. He added that a 'regime of secrecy' by the West is unacceptable with regard to Syria and the use of chemical weapons there. Information sharing is a must.
"If there truly is top secret information available, the veil should be lifted. This is a question of war and peace. To continue this game of secrecy is simply inappropriate."
Samples collected by first responders after the Aug. 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb have tested positive for the Sarin nerve agent, US Secretary of State John Kerry told US media as he sought build support for a military strike. No knowledge of who was behind it has yet come to light.
"Yes, we were shown certain pieces of evidence that did not contain anything concrete - neither geographical locations, nor names, nor evidence that samples had been taken by professionals. Nor did they comment on the fact that numerous experts have serious doubts regarding the video footage circulating on the Internet," Lavrov said at the Moscow Foreign Relations University (MGIMO) on Monday.
"There are plenty of contradictions and oddities, if we are speaking of footage of chemical weapons use and the condition of the victims," he said. "What we were shown before and recently by our American partners, as well as by the British and French, does not convince us at all," he said.
"There are no facts, there is simply talk about what we definitely know. But when you ask for more detailed evidence, they say that it is all classified, therefore it cannot be shown to us. This means there are no such facts to encourage international cooperation," the minister added.
Minister Lavrov has called the information provided to Russia by the US 'inconclusive'.
"We were shown some sketches, but there was nothing concrete, no geographical coordinates or details... and no proof the test was done by professionals... there were no comments anywhere regarding the experts' doubt about the footage circulating all over the internet," Lavrov said.
He added that "what our American, British and French partners have shown us before - as well as now - does not convince us at all. There are no supporting facts, there is only repetitive talk in the vein of "we know for sure". And when we ask for further clarification, we receive the following response: 'You are aware that this is classified information, therefore we cannot show it to you.' So, there are still no facts".
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he doubts that the Syrian opposition will be finally talked into joining the Geneva-2 conference if a military strike is dealt against the Syrian regime.
"Of course, we regret that our American partners have not yet managed to persuade the Syrian opposition to accept Moscow and Washington's initiative. I don't think the opposition will become any more flexible if the threat of using force against Syria is implemented as punishment for what is perceived as the use of chemical weapons," he told students of the Moscow State Institute of International Affairs (MGIMO).
"We need to track down who has done this. Experts must have their say and refer the evidence to the UN Security Council," Lavrov said.
He said that, "the declaration adopted at the Loch Erne G8 summit says in the Syria section that the G8 rejects the use of chemical weapons by any party, while reports about the use of chemical weapons must be professionally investigated and the results referred to the UN Security Council."
Russia is totally unconvinced by the evidence presented by the United States and its allies of an alleged chemical attack outside Damascus that the West says was perpetrated by the regime, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.
"What we were shown before and most recently by our American partners as well the British and the French absolutely does not convince us," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a university lecture, adding there were "many doubts" about images of the alleged attack posted on the Internet.
According to the diplomat, Russia and China advocate solely negotiated solution with regard to Syria and Iran.
Russia and China are unanimous in their belief that the Syrian crisis must be settled exclusively through negotiations, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"Russia and China are firm in pursuing the same principle in dealing with all issues, including the Syrian problem, Iran's nuclear problem and the nuclear problem of the Korean Peninsula, and we advocate solutions based exclusively on negotiations," he said at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) on Monday.
The approaches of outside players to the developments in the Middle East and North Africa are determined by double standards and sympathies for certain leaders in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said.
"If we speak of the Middle East and North Africa, then what we call double standards are apparent," he told MGIMO students on Monday.
"There is an apparent personal aspect when personal dislike for a specific authoritarian leader prompts the strong need to topple him by any means, while authoritarian leaders who don't arouse personal dislike and who are supporters and allies of our Western partners are not discussed at all," he said.
Voice of Russia, Interfax, RT, AFP, TASS