MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) – The Syrian conflict that has torn the country apart for more than two years now continues because Damascus refuses to succumb to US threats, Syrian ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad said on Monday.
“Syria’s problem lies in its refusal to dance to a US tune. Syria is defending its sovereignty and does not succumb to any threats,” Haddad told journalists in Moscow.
He said Syria’s army had destroyed almost all the terrorist groups in the country, but that “Israel’s recent bombings have stopped these operations.” Damascus has condemned the air strikes, saying they are aimed at supporting terrorists fighting the government. Israel says the strikes were carried out to stop missiles from reaching Lebanese Hezbollah militants and being used against the Jewish nation.
The Syrian ambassador also confirmed Syria’s readiness to participate in next month’s peace conference in Geneva proposed earlier by Russia and the United States.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced after a Moscow meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry on May 7 that the two countries had decided to hold an international conference aimed at facilitating a solution through political dialogue to the Syrian crisis, in which more than 80,000 people have died since fighting broke out between government forces and rebels in March 2011.
Certain Syrian opposition groups have also said they are ready to send their representatives, while others insist on President Bashar Assad’s resignation as a precondition for the talks.