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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Lavrov: Give Syrian Dialogue a Chance

RIA Novosti

15:08 08/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday called on the Arab world, the United States and Europe to refrain from passing judgment on the national dialogue in Syria before it has even begun.

Earlier, a Department of State spokeswoman said that the U.S. fears that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s national reconciliation initiatives would lead to nothing.

“Attempts to predict the outcome of the national dialogue – generally speaking, that’s not the world community’s business,” Lavrov said at a press conference, adding that the Arab world, United States and Europe should foster negotiations between all forces in Syria.

Lavrov, who held talks with Assad on Tuesday, confirmed that Syria's vice president has been authorized to hold talks with all opposition groups and organize an all-inclusive national dialogue.

Lavrov also said the decision by several western countries to withdraw their ambassadors from Syria did not help create conditions for a dialogue.

He condemned the League of Arab States’ decision to freeze the operations of its peace mission in Syria. This organization “contributed to not very significant but yet stabilization” in the conflict-torn country, Lavrov added.

“The presence of foreign monitors always plays restrictive role. It’s incomprehensible, why a range of Persian Gulf countries pulled out their representatives from this mission, and why the mission’s operations were halted just when its report was to be heard in the UN Security Council,” Lavrov added.

Russia will do its best to assist the dialogue in Syria, Lavrov reiterated.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero accused Assad on Wednesday of already breaking the promises he made to Lavrov during his talks with the Syrian leader in Damascus.

“As we expected, the statements Bashar Assad made during the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit did not put end to the bloody repression. We received information that three families were killed overnight in their homes in Homs by regime supporters,” Valero said.

Meanwhile, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Russia “must realize that betting everything on Assad is a recipe for failure - not just for Russia’s interests in Syria, but for the stability of the region and for Syria’s future.”

Russia has firmly supported Assad during the uprising against his regime. Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria, backed by the Arab League and Western nations, to prevent a repetition of “the Libyan scenario.”

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