He said the recent evacuation of Russian citizens, mostly women and children, from Syria made Victoria Nuland, the US State Department spokeswoman, believe it was a signal that Moscow was ready to give up on the Assad regime over “continued deterioration of the security situation, and the violence that Assad is leading against his own people.”
Lavrov stressed that Russia had never been supportive of the regime in first place, adding all its efforts were aimed at backing the Geneva communiqué, which pushed Syria to set up an interim government in order to put it on track towards peace settlement.
“That is our stance. It’s not about supporting this or that party in the ongoing tragedy. I hope that our foreign colleagues won’t misinterpret Russia’s actions in regard to the Syrian conflict,” he said at a meeting with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders.
Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev has called on the nations backing Syria’s warring parties to refrain from any military support and let the diplomatic peace process take its course.
“We are open for any contacts, but we strongly object to outside players providing opposition and other parties to the conflict with weapons. It’s time they stopped,” Mr. Medvedev stressed.
He said Russia’s stand on the Syrian issue was “absolutely pragmatic.”
“We don’t support [Syrian President] Assad, neither do we support the opposition. We keep in touch with both the opposition and Assad. We have inter-government agreements, economic ties and even military relations with the regime, though we have never said who should rule the country. It’s up to the Syrian people,” he said.
Voice of Russia, RIA
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes forcefully ousting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad would only make matters worse.
Speaking in an interview with the CNN Sunday, he argued that only a national dialogue involving all of Syria’s ethnic and confessional groups can save the country from a protracted civil war.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chances of remaining in power are diminishing and he must sit at the negotiating table with all of Syria’s ethnic and religious groups to bring an end to the country’s civil war, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.
Medvedev has called Assad several times urging him to negotiate, the Russian premier said in an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The interview is scheduled for broadcast today.
The conflict in Syria is a threat to ally Russia as well as Europe and the U.S. because Syria’s opposition is increasingly represented by Islamic radicals who will infiltrate other countries, Medvedev said. The Syrian people must decide their own future through “genuine national dialogue,” he said. Russia’s goal has never been to preserve Syria’s current political regime, he said.
“With every day, with every week, with every month, the chances of him surviving are becoming less and less,” Medvedev said through a translator, according to a transcript provided by CNN. “I personally a few times called Assad and said ‘You need to start reforms, you need to sit at the negotiating table.’ Unfortunately, the Syrian authorities turned out not to be ready for this.”
Voice of Russia, TASS, Bloomberg