Russia Blasts Interpretations of Geneva Conference on Syria

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Russia is against any misinterpretation of the results of a recent international conference on Syria, which approved a new a peace plan to end the bloodshed in the war-torn country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Russia is against any misinterpretation of the results of a recent international conference on Syria, which approved a new a peace plan to end the bloodshed in the war-torn country, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

The Geneva conference of foreign ministers of the "action group," which includes the Western powers and Russia and China, on Saturday supported creation of a "transitional government body with full executive powers" in Syria, proposed by UN and Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan.

“Unfortunately, some Syrian opposition representatives refused to accept the Geneva decisions, while some of the Western participants of the Geneva meeting started publicly misinterpreting the agreements that have been reached," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.

A statement issued following the meeting in Geneva called for "clear and irreversible" steps toward a political transition in Syria. It did not specify, however, whether embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be excluded from a transition government, leaving its composition entirely up to the "mutual consent" of the Assad administration and the opposition.

Western powers, including the United States, say the Geneva agreement makes it clear to Assad that he must go. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius insisted on Tuesday that “mutual consent” was a key phrase in the statement, and that “no one can imagine that the opposition can agree to [Assad’s] appointment” as a transitional government member.

Lavrov said on Tuesday “there is no reason to interpret these agreements as they mean exactly what they say in the final statement and should be strictly implemented.”

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition, which comprises a large number of disparate political groups and movements, needs to elect a common representative to hold future talks with Syrian authorities.

The Syrian opposition is holding a conference in Cairo to discuss “a road map” for the transitional period that would follow the fall of Assad’s regime.

“Our ambassador in Cairo is urging the Syrian opposition to develop a unified approach to the peaceful settlement and to agree on who will represent them [in future talks],” Lavrov said.

The UN estimated in May that some 10,000 people have been killed in Syria since the beginning of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization with a network of activists in Syria, revised the death toll to 16,500 on Monday. Of those, some 5,000 were government troops and army defectors, the group said.

June had been the bloodiest month of the conflict so far, with around 100 deaths every day, it said.

The UN Security Council has so far failed to find a way to settle the conflict as Russia and China have refused to support any plans for outside interference in Syria.

 

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