RUSSIA- the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem indicated that Syria has pledged to follow a peace plan drawn up by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
The St.Petersburg meeting drew the line under Russia’s diplomatic efforts aimed to prevent the escalation of crisis in Syria. Moscow urged Damascus and the opposition to pull their forces out of Syrian cities simultaneously. Sergei Lavrov said after the meeting that he had received the assurances from his Syrian counterpart that the Russian peace initiative would be supported.
The Syrian authorities say that they are ready to pass a decision on the withdrawal of troops from Syrian cities provided opposition forces follow the same pattern and put an end to armed resistance.
“The Syrian government is fully prepared for this. It said that the agreements on the simultaneous withdrawal of armed forces would be supported. However, all statements by the Syrian authorities to the effect that are ready to follow Kofi Annan’s plan should be backed by actions. We must see to it that the opposition is ready for this as well. The UN observer mission in Syria should draw up a corresponding plan and secure its implementation.”
Syrian authorities are ready to withdraw their forces if this happens simultaneously with the withdrawal of the opposition, said Russia`s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov citing his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.
“Government forces and the armed opposition have to simultaneously withdraw from the cities under the control of international observers. The Syrian government is ready for that,” Lavrov told the press after meeting the Syrian Foreign Minister at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.
Lavrov has also urged Damascus to follow the peace plan proposed by UN envoy Kofi Annan, saying that Syrian authorities have already done a lot to implement the plan, but have to do even more.
Syria`s state news agency SANA reported Saturday that the two (Russia & Syria) sides' viewpoints were in agreement regarding the need to support the plan of Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and the continued cooperation between the Syrian government and the UN observers mission as the two sides stressed the necessity of exerting efforts to stop all forms of violence by all parts.
The two sides also agreed on the need for talks during the Geneva meeting to focus an commitment of all parties to Annan plan, primarily on stopping the funding and arming the armed groups and not harboring them as a starting point for the national dialogue led by Syria to get out of the current crisis in a ways that safeguards the sovereignty and integrity of Syria's territories, SANA added.
Minister al-Mullem expressed satisfaction with the Russian position, which was shown by Minister Lavrov during these talks as well as statements issued by President Vladimir Putin and Lavrov in this regard. Minister al-Muallem also praised the cooperation and coordination between Syria and Russia in the interests of both sides and achieving the security and stability in the region, according to SANA report.
Speaking about the recent US calls to leave President Assad`s fate in the hands of the Syrian people, Lavrov called the proposal unrealistic. Washington has recently said that after President Bashar al-Assad`s resignation he has to be left in the hands of Syrians and the US is not going to interfere.
According to Lavrov giving Assad away to mob law would be “absolutely politically unrealistic” without being moralistic. It is especially strange that such statement comes from usually very pragmatic US authorities, the minister said.
Last week, Moscow expressed readiness to back a plan to increase the number of UN observers in Syria, if needed. However, while Russia means none other than observers, Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed bin Helly believes that the observer mission should be replaced with a peacekeeper mission.
The Syrian government blames outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups for the deaths, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.
Meanwhile, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to visit Israel on June 25th, The Arab Spring and the situation in Syria will be on the agenda of the talks. Given that both Russia and Israel are vitally interested in peace in the Middle East, they will spare no efforts to consolidate their resources in achieving this goal.