Accessibility links

Moscow Defends Syrian Regime Against Threat Of Foreign Interference

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Russia has defended Syria's government against the threat of foreign interference, a day after U.S. President Barack Obama warned that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would be a "red line."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the only thing foreign players should do in Syria is create conditions for dialogue between President Bashar al-Assad's regime and opposition fighters.
He was speaking after talks in Moscow with Syria's Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil.
Jamil said that a foreign intervention would see the crisis expand beyond Syria's borders.
Obama warned the Syrian regime on August 20 of "enormous consequences" -- suggesting possible unilateral military action -- if Damascus uses or moves its chemical weapons.
Lavrov says an understanding was reached with Syrian officials on August 21 that "national reconciliation" should be a top priority to stop bloodshed and "provide conditions for inter-Syrian negotiations."
The Syrian deputy prime minister appeared to suggest that Assad could leave power as part of a negotiated settlement.
But Jamil said Assad's resignation could not be a precondition for opening a peace dialogue.

"The resignation [of President Bashar al-Assad] as a condition to be fulfilled before the start of a dialogue means it will be impossible to start the dialogue. Any issue can be discussed during the dialogue," Jamil said.

"We are ready to discuss even that issue [Assad's resignation]. But resignation before finding mechanisms that are acceptable to the Syrian people -- is that real democracy?"
Meanwhile, the Japanese government on August 21 confirmed that a Japanese journalist has been killed in Syria.
Japanese media reports named the woman journalist as Mika Yamamoto, a veteran reporter.
Syrian activists said she died of wounds sustained while she was covering fighting in Aleppo.
Based on reporting by AFP, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax

Your opinion

Show comments