Friday, 29 June 2012

Clinton in Moscow To Discuss Syria Meeting, Al-Assad: No Solution From Outside

Local Editor

An international conference scheduled to take place in Geneva on Saturday on the Syrian crisis hinges on the outcome of talks between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart on Friday.

Clinton arrived in Russia in a bid to salvage the Geneva talks, after Russia rejected certain elements of UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan's national unity government plan.
Clinton had insisted that "she would only attend if all parties signed up to the idea that there must be political transition in Syria."

Speaking in Riga earlier in the day, Clinton claimed that all parties invited to the Geneva meeting -- hosted by international peace envoy Kofi Annan -- had agreed to attend with the understanding that political transition was needed."
"It was very clear from the invitations that were extended by special envoy Kofi Annan that people were coming on the basis of the transition plan that he had presented," she said.
However, her Russian counterpart was quick to dismiss the idea that his attendance meant acceptance of the need for regime change.
"Foreign players should not be dictating their solutions to the Syrians. We do not and cannot support any intervention or solutions dictated from abroad," Lavrov said.

"Al-Assad's fate must be decided within the framework of a Syrian dialogue by the Syrian people themselves," he told a news conference.
Lavrov also mentioned that "there are no agreed drafts. Work on a possible final document continues." With tensions between world powers still evident, the outcome of negotiations is far from clear.

Annan said on Friday he was still "optimistic that ministerial crisis talks on Syria being held on Saturday would produce an acceptable outcome."
"I think we are going to have a good meeting tomorrow (Saturday). I am optimistic," Annan told Reuters TV in Geneva. "The talks would end with an acceptable result," he said.
His spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said: "The talks are on course and the preparatory meeting is going ahead Friday."

The Geneva conference, which was to be attended by Clinton and Lavrov, in addition to the foreign ministers of Britain, China, France, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, and Kuwait, had been intended as a public show of support for Annan's peace efforts.
Annan announced the meeting on Tuesday, having said he would only convene it if he was sure ministers would unite around his plan to end the worsening violence.
"Foreign players should not be dictating their solutions to the Syrians. We do not and cannot support any intervention or solutions dictated from abroad," he said.
Meanwhile, al Assad said "his government had a duty to annihilate terrorists to protect its people, and ruled out any solution to the crisis imposed from outside the country."

In a one-hour interview with the Iranian TV, the Syrian President said : "The responsibility of the Syrian government is to protect all of our residents. You have a responsibility to annihilate terrorists in any corner of the country."
"When you eliminate a terrorist, it's possible that you are saving the lives of tens, hundreds, or even thousands," he said.

He also firmly rejected any solution imposed from outside the country, emphasizing his own commitment to reform instead.
"We will not accept any non-Syrian, non-national model, whether it comes from big countries or friendly countries. No one knows how to solve Syria's problems as well as we do," he said.
Al-Assad further assured that "we are moving forward with political reforms. But for terrorists and the governments that support them, reforms have no meaning."
He accused Syria's foes of trying to interfere in his country's internal affairs with UN resolutions and by bringing about the failure of Annan's peace plan.

But he said he did not believe the crisis would result in military action in Syria.
"What happened in Libya was not a solution to be copied because it took Libya from one situation into a much worse one. We all now see how the Libyan people are paying the price," he said.
On the relations with Turkey, al-Assad viewed "the policies of the Turkish officials lead to the killing and bloodshed of the Syrian people."

He further denied all claims of Hizbullah and Iranian fighters in Syria.
"This is a joke that we hear many times in order to show that a rift has been created within the army and that therefore there is not an army," he said.
Thanking Iran for being such a loyal friend, he said Damascus would repay such loyalty. He said: "We are on the same front and the name of this front is being independent and making national decisions."

No comments: