Lavrov: Demands for Toppling Al-Assad Prolong Crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stressed that “demands that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad quit power are blocking efforts to end the conflict.”
Lavrov said that “such calls – made by the United States, several European and Arab governments and Turkey – were fanning the flames of violence.”
He also reiterated “Moscow’s view that support for Syrian rebel groups was tantamount to backing terrorism.”
“We propose things that would allow for an immediate ceasefire, but the other side says, ‘No, either the regime capitulates or we will continue to back … the opposition’s armed fight’, justifying terrorist acts,” Lavrov said.

“As long as such support continues, what kind of humanitarian action can we talk about? – including the initiatives of those who will not allow this fire to die down, but instead are fanning it,” he told a joint briefing with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Moscow.

Russia, an ally of Syria, and China have faced vehement criticism from Western states for vetoing UN Security Council resolutions intended to increase pressure on Assad to end the violence sparked by a government crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

Moscow retaliated this week, accusing the United States on Wednesday of trying to justify terrorism against the Syrian government.
In parallel, Lavrov reiterated his country’s willingness to participate in the UN observer mission, provided it is granted an extension to perform its duties.

“I hope that the UN Security Council will be able to prolong this mission (upon the expiry of the current mandate of the observer mission) in the future, particularly to decide on the restoration of its numerical strength and possibly a larger staff,” he added.

“In this case we will be ready to dispatch 30 [Russian] military observers to this mission,” the minister revealed.

Source: News agencies, Edited by

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