21 August 201815:08

Euronews’ article 'Russia will help Syrian refugees return from Lebanon'

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We took note of an article published by Euronews’ Russian desk titled “Russia will help Syrian refugees return from Lebanon,” released following the August 20 talks between Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants of the Lebanese Republic Gebran Bassil.

The article says that “the Russian minister was critical of the actions by the West and UN agencies, including the UN Security Council and UNHCR, who do everything they can to prevent Syrians from coming to the territories controlled by Bashar al-Assad’s government.” It is telling that Euronews even provided a link to the transcript of Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a relevant news conference on the Foreign Ministry’s website. However, it seems that the reporters did not bother to read this transcript carefully. Otherwise, they would have noticed that Sergey Lavrov did not criticise the UN Security Council, let alone accuse the UN Security Council of attempting to prevent Syrians from returning to the territories controlled by the legitimate Syrian government.

Here is what Sergey Lavrov said: “Of course, we are drawing the attention of the UN Security Council to this situation (meaning the artificial attempts to delay the return of refugees by refusing to contribute to the restoration of Syria’s infrastructure) that does not meet any requirements of UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Considering this absolutely destructive US position, the UN Security Council will hardly be able to make any positive decisions on this issue at this time. We will continue working with the countries who understand the urgency of the measures on returning the refugees and the creation of conditions for this. These are countries that have accepted refugees from Syria (mostly, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey) and the European states that are also coming to realise the need for specific steps to this end. This was confirmed by the recent joint Russian-French humanitarian act on the delivery of cargo to Eastern Ghouta by a Russian aircraft from France and the talks between President of Russia Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Mesenberg the day before yesterday. They discussed Syria and, in particular, the refugee issue.”

As for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, here is what he said at the news conference: “We stated our view that there are other donors besides Western ones, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees should not look like a ‘branch’ of a group of Western countries.”

In this connection, we ask Euronews reporters to keep strictly in line with what was said and avoid interpretations that can be misleading for readers when writing articles on the Foreign Ministry official position. We have sent a number of inquiries to Euronews with a view to stressing the need to verify the accuracy of published materials in a more thorough manner.


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