First Published: 2013-01-23

 

Russia to Syria opposition: Your obsession with Assad blocks peace

 

Lavrov takes particular aim at Syria National Coalition, group founded in Doha last year, for seeking toppling of Assad as one of its fundamental aims.

 

Middle East Online

‘Our priority is not reaching geo-political aim’

MOSCOW - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday lashed out at the Syrian opposition for its "obsession" with toppling President Bashar al-Assad which he said was holding up peace efforts in the country.

"For now, everything is running up against the opposition's obsession with toppling Bashar Assad's regime," Lavrov told reporters at his traditional start-of-year news conference.

"As long as this irreconcilable position remains in place, nothing good can happen. Armed actions will continue and people will die."

He said that the opposition's insistence on ousting Assad was styming efforts to find a diplomatic solution backed by the former international peace envoy Kofi Annan and his successor Lakhdar Brahimi.

Lavrov took particular aim at the Syria National Coalition -- a broad-based group backed by the West founded in Doha last year -- for seeking the toppling of Assad as one of its fundamental aims.

Over almost two years of conflict that the United Nations estimates has already cost more than 60,000 lives, Russia has cooled on Assad but has vehemently resisted Western pressure to call on him to quit.

"Our priority is not reaching a geo-political aim -- like the toppling of the Assad regime -- but a stabilisation of the situation and a rapid end to the bloodshed to save Syrian lives," said Lavrov.

His comments came a day after a top Russian official raised the prospect of a protracted conflict in Syria in which neither Assad nor the rebels would gain the upper hand.

"The situation can develop in different ways. I think it could become protracted in nature," Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said.

 

Turkish MPs back controversial bill bolstering Erdogan powers

Egypt court voids deal to transfer islands to Saudi Arabia

10 Guantanamo prisoners arrive in Oman

Trump criticises ‘obsolete’ NATO

Palestinians, Israelis look ahead to Trump's America

Hamas rejects ‘absurd’ Paris peace conference

Israeli army shoots dead Palestinian in West Bank clashes

Obama warns Trump against undoing Iran deal on anniversary

Turkish policeman who assassinated Russian ambassador buried in unmarked grave

EU foreign affairs chief says bloc will stand by Iran deal

UN judge caught in Turkey coup probe leaves Rwanda court blocked

Tunisia receives two more US patrol boats

Libya forces retake Benghazi district from jihadists

Turkey roadside bomb kills three policemen

Iraq forces retake IS-bombed shrine in Mosul

Heavy snow traps 1,000 motorists in Tunisia

CIA chief warns Trump to watch his words

Burundi begins withdrawal of AMISOM troops

Saudi doubts need for oil output cap extension

Saudi budget airline signs deal for 80 Airbus planes

Palestinians can’t stop US embassy move says Israeli minister

Turkey’s unemployment rate highest since 2010

Syria rebels say will attend Astana negotiations

Hamas to release those arrested over electricity protests

Iranian corruption fugitive caught after international manhunt

In Morocco, reforms stalled with no government formed

Qatar Emir pledges $12m to solve Gaza's electricity crisis

Bahrain building torched in ongoing protests over executions

Clashes near Damascus after negotiator's killing

Iran says US 'hostility' growing despite nuclear deal

Spanish King in Saudi as warship sale mooted

Fighter jet shot down over Libya's Benghazi

French summit tries to revive Middle East peace

Jordan interior, foreign ministers unseated in reshuffle

IS gain ground in oil-rich Syria province

Israel fires on Hamas post in Gaza

Bahrain executes three Shiites over police killings

Over 30 dead as IS attacks city in east Syria

Abbas opens Vatican mission, warns over US embassy move

26 killed as Yemeni forces push rebels back

Civilians killed in Syria air strikes

Turkey suspends pro-Kurdish lawmaker for 'genocide' comment

Saudi Arabia cleric warns of cultural 'depravity'

Russia bypasses Obama, invites Trump to Syria talks

Turkey arrests two over nightclub massacre