Sergey Lavrov on War in Syria
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Interviewed by the Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab newspaper, Lavrov highlighted Russia's key role in combating US-supported terrorist invaders.
He stressed the importance resolving things diplomatically, Astana peace talks moving things incrementally in this direction, de-escalation zones established, others to come.
He blasted Arab states for denying Assad's legitimacy, "practically usurp(ing) the right of the Syrian people to decide who will govern Syria and in what form. We strongly disagree with this approach."
Syrians alone must decide who'll lead them and how they're to be governed, free from outside interference.
Russia believes combating ISIS and other terrorists "should be accompanied by the search for a political solution. To that end – continuing to fight against terrorist groups – we are enhancing our efforts to stop bloodshed, provide humanitarian assistance to the population, and intensify the political process as provided for in the UNSC Resolution 2254," Lavrov explained.
All parties in the conflict "must abandon their geopolitical ambitions and fully contribute to reestablishing the stability and security in Syria, the Middle East and Northern Africa as a whole," he added.
The objectives going forward include defeating terrorism, reconstructing destroyed infrastructure, removing unilaterally imposed sanctions on the country, along with pursuing political, economic and social development.
Once conflict ends, it'll take years to restore Syria to its pre-war state. Enormous damage was done. The lives and welfare of millions of Syrians were gravely harmed. Recovery will take time. The first order of business is defeating terrorism and restoring peace.
America's imperial agenda remains the main obstacle. Russia/US bilateral relations are dismal, said Lavrov. Washington bears full responsibility.
Obama "destroy(ed) the foundation of (mutual) cooperation…planted time bombs…mak(ing) things difficult for" Trump.
Bilateral ties "remain hostage to the bickering in the American establishment." Fabricated accusations of Russian interference in last year's presidential campaign exacerbated things greatly.
Lavrov called the so-called US-led coalition in Syria "a gatecrasher," operating illegally without permission from Damascus.
"(T)errorists are divided into the 'bad' and the 'not so bad' ones." A terrorist is a terrorist. They're all equally bad.
US-led forces in Syria "cause many" problems, on the wrong side of the conflict, pretending to combat terrorism while actively supporting it - my words, not Lavrov's.
He fully understands the situation, criticizing the massacre of civilians, several times attacking Syrian forces, and destroying vital infrastructure.
"Our participation in the fight against ISIS is aimed at both ensuring the national security of Russia and strengthening global and regional security," Lavrov explained.
Washington is part of the problem, encouraging terrorists to attack government and allied forces, "stag(ing) fatal provocations against our military personnel." Moscow won't leave this aggression unanswered, Lavrov stressed.
"(D)ouble standards" define US policy. Its anti-terrorist campaign is subterfuge, supporting the scourge it pretends to oppose - launching war on Syria, prolonging it, deploring peaceful conflict resolution. Achieving it defeats its imperial aims.
Hoped for reason gaining traction in Washington to improve dismal bilateral relations is wishful thinking.
Things are worsening, not improving. Possible nuclear war remains an ominous risk, an issue Lavrov didn't address, yet understands well.
Virtually no chance exists for improved relations. Hardliners running things in Washington remain hostile to Russia. Trump is a front man for their interests.
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