12 March 2012, 21:59

Middle East: time to seek solutions

Middle East: time to seek solutions
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Russia is prepared to approve the UN Security Council resolution on Syria. This was announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a speech at a Security Council meeting on Monday.

Russia is prepared to approve the UN Security Council resolution on Syria. This was announced by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a speech at a Security Council meeting on Monday. At the same time, Mr Lavrov stressed that this would only be possible on the basis of the five point plan proposed by the Arab League.

Today we should be looking for real solutions to ending the violence, rather than for someone to blame, Sergei Lavrov said at the beginning of his speech. Obviously, these solutions must not involve demands for regime change, the introduction of unilateral sanctions, or calls to support armed struggle. According to Mr Lavrov, these would constitute nothing more than “risky recipes of geopolitical engineering”.

“Undoubtedly, the Syrian authorities carry a large part of the responsibility for what is going on in the country. At the same time, one can't ignore the fact that for a long time now, they have been fighting against armed militants, which have included the so-called Free Syrian Army and the extremist al-Qaeda network, which have carried out a series of bloody terrorist attacks,” says Mr Lavrov.

On the eve of the meeting, Russia and the Arab League agreed on a five-point roadmap for solving the Syrian conflict. These five points were restated by Mr Lavrov in New York:  an immediate end of violence by all sides; an introduction of an impartial monitoring mechanism; no foreign intervention; unhindered access to humanitarian aid; support for the mission of UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan. Russia would be prepared to approve the Security Council resolution provided all of the above points are adhered to.

At the suggestion of the UK, the agenda for this Security Council meeting is The Situation in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities. The focus of the meeting was expected to be the ongoing crisis in Syria and post-crisis Libya. But the Russian diplomats intend to broaden the agenda to include other countries in the troubled region. It’s too early to talk about stability in the region, but it’s definitely time to draw conclusions about the international aspect of the “Arab Spring”, says Sergei Lavrov.

“First, noone should seek to achieve any objective whatsoever by misleading the international community and manipulating the UN Security Council decisions. This would cause damage to the reputation of the UN Security Council and undermine mutual trust among its members, which in turn would undermine the Security Council's ability to adopt decisions effectively. Secondly, those organizations or countries which undertake the responsibility to fulfill a UN Security Council mandate should account to the Council for their activity in this respect. This includes NATO, which under the pretext of seeking to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya, in fact carried out mass bombing,” Mr Lavrov concluded.

He reminded the other members of the Council that reports about civilian deaths caused by these bombings are yet to be investigated. According to the Russian Foreign Minister, the UN Secretary General should seek clarification on this issue.

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