Danger of civil war in Syria – Lavrov
Laaska News Feb. 16, 2012
“The demand of a regime change is the direct way to even more deaths,” -Lavrov
The demand for the change of regime in Syria as a precondition for resolving the conflict in this country can lead to a civil war according to a statement made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
“The parties that have discouraged the Syrian opposition from entering into an official dialogue with Damascus, are responsible for the continuing deaths of civilians in this country, “- said Lavrov.
He noted that Russia continues to push for the continuation of efforts to end violence in Syria from all sides and the Russian draft resolution on Syria continues to sit untouched at the UN Security Council
Pushing regime change in Syria may lead to full civil war : Russian FM
VIENNA, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) — Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday defended his country’s position on Syria and warned against pushing a regime change in Syria, Austrian Press Agency (APA) reported.
“The demand of a regime change is the direct way to even more deaths,” Lavrov said at a joint conference with Austrian Foreign minister Michael Spindelegger in Vienna.
“That’s the way to full civil war,” Lavrov stressed.
Meanwhile, Spindelegger said that the regime of Bashar al-Assad has lost its legitimacy because of the violence.
The two ministers reached the consensus that the violence in Syria should be terminated but are of different opinions of how to achieve this goal.
Spindelegger said that the end of the violence must be initiated by a UN Security Council Resolution while Lavrov spoke against intervention from outside.
An international presence must be given consent by all parties of the conflict, said Lavrov, calling for a political dialogue among all Syrians.
Regarding the fact that some parts of the opposition in Syria refused to sit at the negotiating table, Lavrov said, “we must demand the people, who carry the weapons, to stop the violence.”
NATO supports the Arab League Countries initiative in Syria
NATO welcomes the initiative of the League of Arab countries peacekeepers to solve the current situation in Syria and doesn’t have any intervention plans in its turn. «I appreciate the League of Arab States efforts. I believe that the solution should be found at a a regional level», NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels on Wednesday.
At the same time Rasmussen reiterated the ongoing violence in Syria, stressing that the only way to solve the issue lies in «introducing freedom and democracy».
At the meeting of the League at the level of Foreign Affairs Ministers the Arab countries’ representatives appealed to the UN Security Council to send an international peacekeeping mission to Syria, urging to support Syrian opposition both «politically and economically». In turn, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow is currently studying the proposals.
Syria, for almost a year witnessing anti-government demonstrations, reports deaths of hundreds of people daily. The opposition demands Bashar al Asad’s immediate resignation, followed by holding democratic elections.
Russia could support UN resolution on Syria
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavov believes that Russia may support a UN resolution on Syria under certain conditions.
He said this at a joint press conference with his Netherlands counterpart Uri Rosentahl in the Hague on Wednesday.
“If the issue is about stopping gunfire, everything is possible,” Mr. Lavrov said.
Sergey Lavrov said once again that Russia had repeatedly called on the world not to ignore the fact that the Syrian opposition often kills civilians.
He welcomed Syria’s plan to hold a referendum which might put an end to the long rule of one party in that country.
At present, the Syrian opposition is demanding a more democratic constitution and the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad.
Recently, Mr. Assad set a nationwide referendum on the constitution for February 26.
Syria holds constitution referendum on Feb. 26
Syria’s state-run television says the government of Bashar al-Assad will hold a referendum on a new draft constitution on February 26th. The move comes as the government is intensifying its military offensive on the central city of Homs.
The draft constitution states the tenure of the presidency will be seven years with a two-term limit.
The government apparently aims to avoid pressure from western nations over its crackdown on civilians by showing progress on democratization.
The opposition stronghold of Homs has been besieged by the tanks of government forces for more than 10 days.
On Wednesday, an explosion occurred along a major oil pipeline near Homs. Video footage shows black smoke rising from the pipeline and blanketing the city. The cause of the blast is not yet known.
The death toll from the crackdown on demonstrators has reportedly exceeded 6,000 since protests began in March last year.