Friday, July 6, 2012
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman: 'Friends of Syria' Group ‘Immoral’.(RN).Meetings being organized by the Friends of Syria group are one-sided and immoral, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich has said.
“Russia, China and a number of other countries which have traditionally friendly relations with the Syrian Arab Republic and its people have refused to join those ‘friends’ because we believe that the format that they have chosen is not only politically wrong, but also immoral,” Lukashevich said.
His remarks followed a conference of the Friends of Syria group held in Paris on Friday, in which representatives of some 100 countries took part.
Participants in the talks voiced strong criticism of Russia and China for their reluctance to join Western and Arab governments in calling on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
In her address to the delegates, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Moscow and Beijing “will pay a price” for “holding up progress” on Syria, urging the participating countries to put pressure on Russia and China to withdraw their support for Assad.
"I ask you to reach out to Russia and China and to not only urge, but demand that they get off the sidelines and begin to support the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people," Clinton said, adding: “I don't think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all, nothing at all, for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime.”
Lukashevich said in his comments that the U.S. and its allies’ “friendship” with the Syrian opposition alone could further deepen the bloody 17-month-long conflict between the Syrian government and those fighting it.
“This would mean only one thing – the continuation of bloodshed and new human tragedies,” Lukashevich said.
Participants in the Geneva talks, including the five permanent UN Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States – as well as Turkey, Iraq, Qatar and Kuwait have urged the Syrian government and opposition groups to immediately end fighting and obey to a peace plan proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
They also called for the creation of a transitional government in Syria involving members of both the current Syrian leadership and opposition groups.
Instead of pushing the conflicting Syrian sides to work together to achieve peaceful transition, he said, the Friends of Syria group organize “politico-propagandist performances in the spirit of party congresses, where the fate of Syria is being discussed in the absence of its representatives and loud calls on oppositionists to launch an uncompromising fight to overthrow the Syrian leadership are being heard.”
Those calls are being strengthened by “generous promises of financial and economic support, as well as behind-the-scenes hints at the possibility of using a military scenario” in Syria, he added.
Russia and China have twice vetoed United Nations resolutions against Assad, citing a pro-rebel bias.Both countries have however backed Annan’s six-point peace plan, which went into force in April, but has failed to stop the bloodshed.
Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is expected to hold talks with Syrian opposition groups next week, a diplomatic source said on Friday.Read the full story here.