A delegation of the Syrian Negotiations Commission headed by Nasr al-Hariri, met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian capital Moscow on Monday and discussed the latest political and field developments in Syria.
Lavrov began the meeting by welcoming the delegation of the Commission as he said he looked forward for a meeting with a unified delegation of the Syrian opposition. He praised the Commission’s efforts to make the political process a success in accordance with international resolutions.
Lavrov said his country was committed to the full implementation of UN Security Council resolution 2254, noting that Moscow’s primary goal was to support the UN-led Geneva process and reach the desired goal.
For his part, Hariri thanked Lavrov, describing the meeting as important given that Russia is a major player in the Syrian issue. He added that the meeting came in the context of the efforts to serve the interests of the Syrian which will always remain the guideline for all the Commission's activities. He also said that the meeting aimed to reaffirm commitment to the implementation of UN resolutions and engagement in the negotiating process as well as to expose the failure of the regime and its obstruction of the political process.
"Our adoption of a political solution stems from our keenness to defend the Syrian people inside and outside Syria as well as to establish a non-sectarian, free, pluralistic, democratic, civil state that is based on the rule of law and enjoys security and stability and one that has good relations with its neighbors and seeks to protect civilians," Hariri said.
In the meeting with Lavrov and representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry, Hariri focused on the humanitarian issues, pointing out that they should not be subjected to negotiations, namely the release of detainees, the lifting of the sieges, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
Hariri pointed out that the Geneva Communiqué of 2012 and subsequent relevant resolutions called for the establishment of Transitional Governance Body (TGB) with full powers and one that is credible and inclusive. As was outlined in UN Security Council resolution 2254, TGB’s primary task is to create an appropriate and neutral environment for the success of the transitional phase as well as the convening a national dialogue conference, the holding of a referendum on the drafting of a constitution, and the holding of free and fair elections.
Turning to the fight against terrorism, Hariri said that "terrorism is the enemy of the Syrian people as it cost them thousands of lives. Hence, a national contract needs to be established to combat all forms of terrorism that affect the safety of the country and civilians." He added that the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army were the most affected by terrorism and the first to counter the terrorism which was practiced by tyrannical regime and the terrorism of the extremist militant groups.
As for ‘de-escalation zones’ agreement, Hariri pointed out that the agreement had collapsed because of the violations of the Assad regime, the Iranian militias and terrorist groups. He stressed that “for us, the lives of Syrians are our top priority."
As for the situation in eastern Ghouta and Idlib, Hariri stressed that the past three months have seen unprecedented bombing, destruction, displacement and tightened siege imposed by the Assad regime and its militias.
Hariri also pointed to the Russian role in what is happening in Syria and the need for Russia to commit to the agreements it signed off on. Regarding the Sochi conference, Hariri pointed out that the information being circulated about the conference is vague and ambiguous and that there were dozens of statements that were issued by local councils, rebel groups, and Syrian political bodies rejecting the conference in addition to the popular outright rejection of the Russian move.
He pointed out the Commission will not make any final decision regarding the Russian initiatives until it receives full and clear information from Russia that the Sochi Conference is meant to serve the main political course in Geneva. The Commission will then discuss the matter with its international partners, Hariri said, adding that the Commission is guided by the interests of the Syrian people and take their voice into consideration for the making of decisions.
In the four-hour meeting, Lavrov responded to Hariri's remarks by saying that the Russia position did not contradict the Commission's vision for the full implementation of UNSC Resolution 2254. "We look forward to the full implementation of resolution2254,” Lavrov said.
Both sides discussed the proposed Sochi conference. The views of both sides on the issue were divergent. But the Russian side said they understood the position of the Commission which insisted on the implementation of resolution 2254.
For their part, members of the Commission’s delegation cited a number of obstacles to a solution of the Syrian crisis, most notably the need for the withdrawal of all foreign forces and militias from Syria.
The two sides agreed to continue serious communications for the success of the upcoming Vienna meeting and the revival of the Geneva process as well as for directing all efforts and political events in this direction in the context of finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)
The Syrian Coalition called on the international community to take action to put an end to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and hold those responsible accountable as a meeting bringing together 30 countries began in Paris today to establish a new partnership against the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Russia killed an investigation by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) - known as the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) after it had vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions preventing the renewal of the mandate for the mission.
The Syrian Civil Defense Corps, also known as the White Helmets, said that Assad regime forces targeted populated areas in the Damascus suburb of eastern Ghouta with rockets loaded with poison chlorine gas on Monday. The attack caused dozens of asphyxiation cases among civilians in the district of Douma, the Civil Defense said, adding that most of the injured were women and children.
The Syrian Coalition said that the “repeated failures over the past years, coupled with the negative role of most parties, are to blame for the current situation on the ground in Syria. It called upon the United Nations and active players exert real pressure corresponding with the situation on the ground to prevent further bloody escalation.
In a press release issued on Monday, the Coalition said: “such violations are no longer only a challenge to the international community and Security Council resolutions, but they have become more like an insult to those parties which are unable to carry out their duties or shoulder their responsibilities.”
The Coalition condemned the “repeated, systematic, deliberate use of chlorine gas by regime forces as it warns of the consequences of remaining silent about these attacks. Remaining silent risks encourage the Assad regime to escalate these attacks.”
The Coalition went on to say that “the Assad regime and its supporters will not change their criminal behavior, nor will they stop violating international resolutions through the use of chemical weapons and the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity unless they pay heavily for their actions.” (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Department)