Answer of Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia M.V. Zakharova to the question of the mass media regarding the second meeting of the so-called “Friends of Syria” Group
Question: The second session of the “Group of Friends of Syria” took place in Istanbul on 1 April. It was announced about a whole range of solutions, including the provision and financial security of the armed opposition. How can you comment on that?
Answer: Indeed, the second event of this kind took place in Istanbul, which, as it is known, Russia did not participate in. Judging by incoming reports, the meeting in Istanbul, has unfortunately retained a one-sided character, and neither the government of Syria nor many of the influential groups of Syrian political opposition were presented among its members. The main aspect of peaceful settlement of the extremely complex internal conflict in Syria is the implementation of the suggestions of the UN/LAS Special Envoy K. Annan, approved by Russia and all members of the UN Security Council. In this regard, we note that the participants of the session in Istanbul also supported his mission. It is clear that it will require sustained and, if necessary, patient actions of all the Syrian parties, regional and international players.
Assurances and intentions of direct, including military and logistical, support of the armed foreign opposition, sounded in Istanbul, no doubt, are contrary to the objectives of the peaceful settlement of the civil conflict in the SAR. Now it is necessary not to stir up destructive infighting among the Syrians, but, as it is provided by the “Plan of K. Annan”, to achieve and to ensure prompt cease fire and violence from all sides, to establish a broad inner-Syrian dialogue to find solutions that would work for all Syrians. We believe that this is precisely the “defence” of the Syrian people, which was so widely discussed in Istanbul. This is the only way to ensure the right of the Syrian people to determine their fate themselves without external intervention, including the election of legitimate leaders of the country and its representative bodies.
Moscow considers it very important in the upcoming period to focus on the specific support and encouragement of all, without exception, Syrian sides for the proposals of K. Annan, who will present a report on his assessments and considerations to the UN Security Council on 2 April.