Russia Favors Syrian Solution to Political Crisis

Posted by on Jun 28, 2012 | Comments Off on Russia Favors Syrian Solution to Political Crisis

 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says a solution to the crisis in Syria should come from the Syrian people, and that Russia will not support any external meddling.

Lavrov spoke Thursday ahead of a planned meeting Saturday in Geneva where world powers will discuss international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace plan.

The opposition Syrian National Council said Thursday it would not accept any proposed political transition that does not include Assad stepping down.

Also Thursday, an explosion sent thick black smoke into the sky in the capital, Damascus, in what state television called a “terrorist” attack outside the Palace of Justice.

Meanwhile, Turkey on Thursday moved military equipment near its border with Syria, about a week after Syria shot down a Turkish military jet.  Turkish media said the deployments in several areas were a precautionary measure.

“The meeting in Geneva was intended to support Kofi Annan’s plan and it must set the conditions for the end of violence and the start of an all-Syrian national dialogue, and not pre-determine the contents of this dialogue,” the foreign minister said.

Lavrov is also due to host talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday in St. Petersburg.

The Russian foreign minister said it was a “mistake” not to invite Syrian ally Iran to the Geneva meeting, calling the country an “influential player” in the situation.  Saudi Arabia, a prominent supporter of those opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, was also left off the list.

Annan invited the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as well as Turkey and representatives of the Arab League.  He said Wednesday the “Syria Action Group” will try to agree on principles for a “Syrian-led political transition.”

NATO earlier this week condemned Syria for the Friday attack.  Syria has said it shot the plane down in self-defense after the aircraft flew into its airspace.  Turkey said the plane entered by mistake and had moved into international airspace before being shot down.

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