Russia: New Syria resolution ready

2011-10-10 15:41

Moscow - Moscow and Beijing are ready to propose a UN resolution on Syria that is more "balanced" than the West's draft that they controversially vetoed last week, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

Lavrov said in an interview with Profil magazine that the Moscow-drafted version would condemn violence carried out both by the regime of Bashar al-Assad and the rebel opposition.

His comments came as the Kremlin's Africa envoy Mikhail Margelov and Qadri Jamil, a communist and member of the so-called "internal opposition" in Syria, urged all conflicting parties to sit down for talks.

Russia and China last week infuriated the West by blocking a UN resolution against Assad's deadly crackdown on protests, even after the West dropped the word "sanctions" from a draft to temper Russian opposition.

Full-scale arms embargo fear

"We propose to adopt a balanced resolution that would condemn violence from both sides," Lavrov told Profil magazine in comments released on Monday.

"At the same time we need to demand from Assad a continuation of reforms which he has already embarked upon."

"Apart from that, we need to encourage the Syrian opposition to come to the negotiating table and try to reach an agreement. Together with our Chinese partners we are ready to offer such a resolution," Lavrov said.

The foreign minister expressed concern that the West-drafted resolution would open the way for a full-scale arms embargo against Russia's traditional ally in the Middle East.

"We remember how an embargo was implemented in relation to Libya," he said. "We are also well aware of our partners' ability to arm one of the sides in the conflict despite an embargo," he said wryly.

He accused the West of seeking to discourage the opposition from holding talks with Assad.

The interview was released as Margelov, head of the upper house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, hosted for talks a Syrian delegation led by Jamil, a member of the so-called "internal opposition" seen as advocating dialogue with Assad.

"The Russian veto is a last call for the authorities and the opposition to come to the negotiating table and start national dialogue," the state RIA Novosti news agency quoted Margelov as saying.

"The Russian veto against the Syria resolution is by no means carte blanche for the current regime in Syria to behave as it pleases, it is not an indulgence for either the regime or the opposition."

Time running out for dialogue

Outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday that Assad should either reform or go but warned that Moscow would continue blocking any attempts by the West to oust him from power.

Speaking ahead of his planned talks with Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Tuesday,
Jamil said his delegation travelled to Moscow to express gratitude for vetoing the West-sponsored draft.

"It is a good example of how you can prevent the interference of foreign countries in Syria's domestic affairs," he told AFP after talks with Margelov.

Critics see Jamil as too close to Assad. He denies this, saying he represents the "patriotic" opposition as opposed to those based outside Syria and siding with the West.

He said time was running out for dialogue, noting talks between the regime and the opposition should also include a loose-knit people's movement including the so-called "the internal opposition".

The Russian foreign ministry confirmed it would host Jamil for talks on Tuesday.

In March, Russia abstained from the UN Security Council resolution on Libya that essentially authorised military action, later accusing the West of abusing Moscow's goodwill.

  • MEopinion - 2011-10-10 16:32

    Precisely what is needed to prevent the development of a full scale civil war which will be devastatingly costly to all sides of the conflict. The Syrians do not deserve such a situation, as generally they are an example for co-existence of different ethnic and religious groups. By pressuring all parties for talks, the Russians are showing better leadership than the West has thus far shown. Maybe now the daily cycle of violence will be broken.

      Krush - 2011-10-10 18:23

      Dont be fooled by the Russians or the Chinese. There is a lot more to this than meets the eye. Russia, China and the middle east will team up.

  • braamc - 2011-10-10 16:49

    Let us see, start doing something for human rights, especially that Chinese politicians. Ruthless killers

  • slg - 2011-10-10 22:08

    Russia and China, until recently totalitarian regimes, would identify with the brutal Asad regime that denies Syrians the right to vote for their leaders and detains, tortures and kills those wanting change. The blood's on Russia and China's hands now. It shouldn't last long. The world is a village now. Alternative strategies will be devised. Syrians will be free and the cruel Asad regime will be history

      MEopinion - 2011-10-11 08:08

      If the World is a village SSig you must be its idiot! Continue disrespecting Russia and China at your peril boy, they might just be your future! As I have said before you are thousands of km away and totally immune to the consequences of the crap you espouse.

  • JohnPicarra - 2011-10-11 00:15

    Today was The Battle of Tours, 732, Charles Martel stopped the muslim invasion of Europe. Khalid Yahya Blankinship argued the military defeat at Tours was 1 of the failures that contributed to the decline of the Umayyad caliphate: "Stretching from Morocco to China, the U. C. based its expansion and success on the doctrine of jihad—armed struggle to claim the whole earth for God's rule, a struggle that had brought much material success for a century but suddenly ground to a halt followed by the collapse of the ruling U. dynasty in 750 AD. The End of the Jihad State demonstrates for the 1 time the cause of this collapse came not just from internal conflict, as has been claimed, but from a number of external and concurrent factors that exceeded the caliphate's capacity to respond. These external factors began with crushing military defeats at Byzantium, Toulouse and Tours."

  • Nkululeko - 2011-10-12 18:37

    The problem with the west is that they always have a hidden agenda. I think Russia and China did a good thing to vote against UN resolution and South Africa, Brazil, India and Lebanon to abstain because they simply want to resolve the matter by working with both sides, not providing rebels with weapons to actually make situation worse. The west is dum!!

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