Syria regime change not envisioned in US-Russia plan

Syria regime change not envisioned in US-Russia plan
Tue Jan 21, 2014 17:39:40

Russia says a regime change in Syria is not sought in the forthcoming Geneva II conference which has been marked with deep division and opposing stances within the participants.

"It's a false interpretation of the agreements reached in Geneva in June 2012," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday, in reference to an earlier round of international Syria talks.

Speaking at a press conference in Moscow, Lavrov also stressed that "the principle of change of regime is not envisioned by the Russian-US initiative."

Washington, however, is pushing ahead with its own interpretation, saying that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must give up power.

Meanwhile, tensions are running high among Syrian opposition groups. After the UN excluded the main regional player, Iran, from the talks, the so-called Syrian National Coalition confirmed that it will take part in the conference.

But the largest bloc within the coalition, the Syrian National Council, has boycotted the negotiations.

Lavrov has described the event as largely ceremonial, raising doubts about any tangible results.

The conference is scheduled to open in the Swiss city of Montreux on January 22, before moving to the UN Office in Geneva on January 24.

The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

More than 100,000 people have been killed and millions displaced in the turmoil.


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