Russia’s FM calls on Syrian opposition to propose ‘own’ peace plan

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Reuters)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. (Reuters)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the Syrian opposition to come up with their own peace plan, following the Syrian President’s recent call for dialogue. He added that Assad’s removal from power is ‘impossible to implement.’

­Sergey Lavrov stressed that the opposition’s main precondition for peace talks being the removal of President Assad, was not realistic.

“This is a precondition that is not contained in the Geneva communique (agreed by world powers in June) and which is impossible to implement because it does not depend on anyone,” Lavrov said Sunday.

Lavrov admitted that initiatives that Bashar Assad forwarded in his speech on January 6, inviting the whole Syrian opposition to dialogue, may be considered not far-fetched and not serious enough by some, “but these are initiatives.”

“If I were in the opposition’s place, I would present my counter-ideas about establishing dialogue,” Lavrov said.

The Russian foreign minister also said that having Assad’s resignation as a precondition for peace may cost “more and more casualties”.  

“Those who support such approach should be responsible for this,” Lavrov said.

The Geneva communiqué that the Foreign Minister referred to in his statement, calls on both sides to succeed to adhere to an interim government, and has no clear regulation on Assad’s actions and future position in the country.

“We are hearing from opposition groups that they have decided to fight till final victory, how can we talk about implementing the Geneva communiqué then,” Lavrov said.

Assad’s political future in Syria is one of the bones of contention between Russian and Western powers concerning a possible solution to the conflict.

While Moscow insists that only Syrians can decide their future including ousting Assad, either though elections or dialogue, Western powers along with Arab League states insist that to solve the conflict Assad should first step down.  

Mr.Brahimi and I exchanged our views and we agreed [during the meeting on Friday] on that the crisis is becoming more and more threatening not only for Syria but for the whole region. Our joint stance is that in the current situation, perhaps the only people who win are radicals, extremists, connected also with terrorist groups like al-Qaeda…Preconditions make it impossible to start a dialogue, “ he explained.

The civil war in Syria has lasted almost two years and according to UN estimates claimed lives of 60,000 people.