Author: An-Nahar (Lebanon) Posted June 19, 2012
A meeting took place between US President Barack Obama and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Mexican resort town of Los Cabos on the sidelines of the G20 summit. Meanwhile, Russia is continuing with its organization of another international conference on the Syrian crisis. The importance of the meeting between the two leaders has been amplified by the latest developments and increased level of violence in Syria, which culminated in the suspension of the UN’s observation mission [on June 16].
Russia’s diplomatic efforts — toward both the East and West — have revolved around a constant adherence to the peace plan initiated by the UN and Arab League envoy, Kofi Annan. Lately, this plan seems to have been in grave danger of collapsing. According to the statements of a Russian diplomatic source to An-Nahar in Beirut, all of Russia’s diplomatic efforts regarding the Syrian crisis revolve around series of meetings that Moscow has called and will continue to call for. For example, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Tehran last week, which was followed by telephone consultations with Annan, was a part of these efforts. The continued nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group in Moscow will also have to take into account the developments in Syria.
If the Russian proposal to hold a meeting on Syria, with Iran included, were to succeed, it would have to overcome a series of “details” that still differentiate the West’s view from Russia’s.
The Russian source summarizes these issues as follows:
Efforts to organize an international conference were the focus of a recent meeting between Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour and Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin. The latter has highlighted that Lebanon could potentially benefit from attending the international conference.
The Russian side also clarified that no official invitations have been sent to anybody — including Lebanon — for the conference that is scheduled for the end of the month. Russia is waiting until a final agreement can be reached on the conference’s location, content and sponsor, which may turn out to be the UN. The Russian diplomatic source also conveyed that Mansour had a positive attitude toward the proposal, but stressed that Lebanon alone would decide on whether to participate or not.
In the meantime, the Russians have made it clear that there are three things that they will categorically reject: an invoking of the UN Charter’s Chapter VII, arming international observers and applying international sanctions. It should be noted however, that no positive progress has been made in unifying the Syrian opposition; its unification must be achieved before it may begin discussions with the regime.
Read More: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2012/06/russian-source-in-beirut-on-the.html