Lavrov: Stop Re-Interpreting the June 30 Geneva Communique on Syria
July 4, 2012 • 8:11AM

Tuesday in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke out against certain Western countries resorting to distortions and re-interpretations of the June 30 Geneva communique, which called for all Syrian parties to stop the violence and negotiate. Next week, Russia is hosting a meeting with Syrian opposition groups in Moscow, and today, Lavrov discussed its prospects and denounced re-interpretations of the Geneva agreement.

Since the June 30 conference, London warmongers have worked overtime to thwart any potential anti-war impact, by retailing false inferences in the media—in particular that it was agreed that Assad should step down, and orchestrating denials and objections by Syrian opposition elements.

Said Lavrov, "It seemed to us that the consensus reached in the final communique is an important step to consolidate the positions of all members of the international community, the participants in the conference and Syrian sides, on the positions of a peaceful settlement and the refusal to solve the problem in the military way. Unfortunately, some representatives of the Syrian opposition began to state that the Geneva decisions are unacceptable for them." He said that, "The Geneva agreements should not be distorted in any way. They mean just what has been written in the communique, and we will try not to rewrite anything afterwards."

Lavrov said that, "Geneva gives good chances and they should be used... It is important that all players are pressing actively on all Syrian parties in order to make them stop violence and get down to the table of negotiations."

Even stronger denunciations came today from Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the State Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, speaking at a separate event in Moscow. "A war of interpretation broke out after the agreement on political transformation in Syria was signed in Geneva," he said. Specifically, U.S. Sec. of State Hillary Clinton holds the belief that the agreement lets the current Syrian leadership know that it must go, he continued, whereras, "Moscow, by contrast, said the agreement does not say a word about Assad's resignation and that he is not mentioned at all in it."

The United States and Russia are on a collision course, Pushkov warned. "We are again witnessing a collision. On the one hand we can see the United States and the so-called Friends of Syria who want Assad to resign. On the other, Russia and China are seeking an immediate end to the violence and the earliest possible beginning of talks between the Syrian government and opposition."

He stressed that the only common ground between the two sides is the belief that the situation in Syria must be settled politically. He added, however, that the U.S. is insisting on the precondition of Assad resigning.

Pushkov added still further, that the United States and others are actively dictating what the Syrian opposition's position should be. "The rebels have announced already that they will not start talks before Assad's resignation, which indicates that they obey the logic dictated from abroad."

Pushkov referred to the case of Libya as having similarities to what is happening now. There were differing interpretations of UN Security Council Resolution 1973 on Libya, which eventuated in NATO resorting to military action there.

Monday at the UN, a closed-door session of the Security Council received a briefing given by U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay, during which, it was reported afterward, she repeated her call for the case of the Syrian government to go before the International Criminal Court at the Hague. In an appearance of even-handedness, she also said that there are charges that the opposition is torturing children in Syria, and she would be willing to send in a team to investigate. But her role, and a new report out today by Human Rights Watch, charging the Syrian government with practicing torture, is in step with the drumbeat for war.