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Russia Would Not Support Intervention in Syria Lavrov

RIA Novosti

14:14 28/06/2012

MOSCOW, June 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russia would not lend its support to any plans for outside interference in Syria which may be voiced at the upcoming international conference in Geneva, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Thursday.

“We will not, and would not be able to support any outside interference or imposition of recipes [in Syria],” Lavrov said at a press conference in Moscow.

Syria needs political transformation, but its nature should be defined by Syrian people only, the minister said.

UN envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, reportedly proposed on Wednesday creation of an interim government in the country comprising both opposition members and President Bashar al-Assad loyalists, but not necessarily Assad himself.

Lavrov denied media reports that Russia has agreed to support Annan’s plan, which could be approved at the conference in Geneva on Saturday. The resolution for the conference is still being drafted, he said.

“The fate of President Bashar al-Assad should be decided by the Syrians themselves,” Lavrov added.

The Foreign Minister also said that he did not expect any NATO members to push for a repetition of a “Libyan scenario” in Syria.

Last year, NATO launched a military operation in Libya, authorized by the UN Security Council, to help local insurgents oust longstanding leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was eventually killed by rebels.

Head of Russian General Stuff, Nikolai Makarov, denied on Thursday that Russia, an ally of Assad, is planning to deploy any military forces in Syria.

Participants invited by Annan to the conference in Geneva include representatives of five permanent Security Council members – Russia, China, England, France and the United States – as well as Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar and the EU, and heads of the UN and Arab League.

The relatively compact lineup for the conference is more efficient than that of the Friends of Syria Group, which comprised representatives of some 150 countries, Lavrov said. Some 70 countries and international organizations actually participated in the group’s meeting in Istanbul in April.

Lavrov also criticized the organizers for not inviting Iran, Syria’s longtime ally, to the conference in Geneva.

The UN has officially recognized the conflict in Syria, ongoing since March 2011, as a civil war. More than 12,000 were killed in clashes between rebels and forces loyal to government of Bashar al-Assad, according to UN estimates.

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