Moscow slams US over Syria
Updated: 2012-12-13 08:24
By Agencies in Moscow, Marrakech, Morocco and Beijing (China Daily)
A Syrian woman and girl carry their belongings after their home was damaged due to fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria on Tuesday. Narciso Contreras / Associated Press
Decision to recognize opposition 'contradicts' Geneva communique
Russia lashed out at the United States on Wednesday for recognizing an opposition coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, saying it ran against agreements to seek political transition in the Middle East nation.
US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday the newly formed Syrian Opposition Council "is now inclusive enough" to be granted the elevated status and deemed his move "a big step" in the international diplomatic efforts to end Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled government. Recognition of the council as the sole representative of Syria's diverse population brings the US in line with Britain, France and several of US Arab allies.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday the recognition contradicted earlier international agreements that foresee the "commencement of an all-Syria dialogue" that would include all sides of the conflict that has killed more than 40,000 people.
Lavrov said he was surprised by the move and that it appeared the US was betting on "armed victory" of the opposition over Assad's government.
"This contradicts the agreements set in the Geneva communique that proposes the start of all-Syrian dialogue between the representatives named by the government on the one side and the opposition on the other," Lavrov said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that Syria's future and destiny should be decided by the Syrian people "on their own".
"The political transition process led by the Syrian people should be launched and pushed forward as soon as possible so as to achieve the just, peaceful and appropriate settlement of the Syrian issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news conference in Beijing.
China expects efforts from the relevant parties in Syria for achieving that goal, and Bejing is willing to stay in contact and communication with all relevant parties in Syria toward this end, Hong added.
UN-Arab League Joint Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi is seeking a solution based on the June 30 Geneva Declaration, which called for a transitional government to defuse a 20-month-long protest against Assad.
"During consultations in Geneva three days ago, we thought the Americans understood the necessity of creating conditions for all-Syrian dialogue to include government members, too," Lavrov said.
"So for us it is quite an unexpected turn and we will seek to clarify what exactly they (the US) have in mind," Lavrov said, adding that it would undermine diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.
The meeting of Friends of Syria held on Wednesday in Marrakech in central Morocco recognizes Syria's National Coalition for the Opposition Forces as "the legitimate representative of the Syrian people," according to a draft chairman's conclusion of the meeting.
The draft conclusion, of which one copy was obtained by Xinhua, also said the Friends of Syria see the coalition, which was formed by Syrian opposition groups early November in Qatar's Doha, as "the umbrella organization under which the Syrian opposition are gathering."
Saudi Arabia will afford $100 million to alleviate the "sufferings of the Syrian people", Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal said after the meeting.
Al-Faisal also asked for more pressure from the international community on the Syrian administration.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Wednesday that it was too early for France to supply weapons to Syrian rebels.
"For now we have decided not to move on this," Fabius told reporters ahead of the Friends of Syria meeting. "We shall see in the coming months."
The National Coalition for the Opposition Forces, which was formed by Syrian opposition groups in early November in Doha, Qatar as well as more than 100 senior government officials from "Friends of Syria Group" countries supporting the Syrian opposition are expected to attend the meeting.
Also on Wednesday, at least one person was killed and several wounded by two bomb blasts in the Syrian capital and a southeastern suburb of the city, the SANA state news agency said.
"Terrorists blew up two bombs laden with explosives behind the Palace of Justice in the (central) Qanawat district of Damascus," said the agency, adding that one person was wounded there.