Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met with President Mohamed Morsy on Monday. During their meeting Morsy urged Lavrov to use Russia’s political sway to help solve the crisis in Syria.
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said “The president asked Russia to support the quartet initiative.” The initiative is made up of Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, who aim to help mediate on the Syrian crisis. Ali said “The president asked Lavrov to use Russia’s political power to stop the bloodshed in Syria.”
During the meeting Lavrov extended a formal invitation for Morsy to visit Russia.
Lavrov met with the secretary general of the Arab League, Nabil El-Araby and Special envoy of the Arab League and the United Nations (UN) to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, to discuss the Syrian crisis on Sunday.
The Russian accused other countries involved in helping to resolve the situation of ignoring the Syrian government and “only talking to the opposition,” and encouraging further conflict. He also claimed there is not necessarily a need for a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution.
In a press conference after their meeting El-Araby said that the meeting was held partly “to analyse the situation in Syria and revise what has been done until now and explore the ways of moving forward.
“Nothing has been agreed upon but the different dimensions and determinants of the situation have been studied.”
Lavrov announced a new Arab-Russian partnership, with the first meeting to be held at the end of the year. He then talked about the Syrian crisis and acknowledged that “this crisis has negative consequences related to the stability of the region and the surrounding countries and we agree in principle that there is no military solution to the crisis.”
Lavrov stressed the need to implement the agreements that were reached in Geneva at the end of June, namely to establish an interim governing authority comprising both the government and the opposition. He added “I think that Russia may be the only country that works with all of the Syrian parties, with the government and the opposition according to the Geneva declaration.”
He then commented on the progress of the Syrian situation, saying, “sadly some of the countries that participated in the Geneva meeting have stopped talking with the government and are only talking with the opposition and they are even encouraging them to proceed with an armed struggle until they are victorious.”
The Russian minister then highlighted the need to revisit the agreements made in Syria “so that we can work on this foundation and to enable Lakhdar Brahimi to carry out his mission.”
Lavrov said that a UNSC resolution might not be necessary because the Geneva agreements exist and a resolution could cause violence to intensify. He again accused other countries of turning against the regime, saying “maybe the attempt of our western partners and colleagues to pass a resolution is to destabilise the situation, in order to create circumstances for them to be able to wipe out the regime.”
Brahimi on the other hand stressed the need for a UNSC resolution. “I want what was stated in Geneva to be translated into a UNSC resolution, which would grant the power to implement a political project,” he said.
He pointed out that the Syrian crisis continues to be violent. “The blood that is flowing is the blood of the innocent and this will not lead to the victory of either party.”
Both Brahimi and Lavrov agreed “there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria.” They both called for a political solution to the crisis and to implement the Geneva agreements.
Brahimi said, “there is no other way for this to happen unless the members of the Security Council can talk together and agree on a resolution and we look forward to that with all our hopes.”
The Geneva meeting was held in June between the members of the UNSC and representatives of countries neighbouring Syria. The main outcome of the Geneva meeting was the agreement to establish a transitional governing authority.
While Sunday’s meeting was dominated by the topic of Syria, it also addressed other regional issues. Lavrov warned that by concentrating on the Syrian crisis other issues in the Middle East might get ignored, such as rebuilding Libya and the Palestinian issue. He said that one of Russia’s main tasks in the region is to “build a zone free of mass destruction.”
He supported the desire for change in the Arab world but said that this should not destabilise the region and create a focal point for terrorism and drug trafficking.
Russia and China have both used their vetoes as permanent members of the UNSC to block proposed sanctions against Syria.
Lavrov’s next destination is Jordan where he will arrive on Monday to discuss strengthening bilateral relations between Russia and Jordan. He will also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the Palestinian issue.