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Military intervention in Syria will lead to catastrophe – Lavrov

Published time: August 18, 2012 14:49
Edited time: August 19, 2012 00:48

RIA Novosti / Sergey Pyatakov

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Military action in Syria will lead to catastrophe, Russia's Foreign Minister has said. Russia opposes US demands for a no-fly zone over Syria, he said, adding that the solution to the ongoing conflict is the Geneva accord peace plan.

The international community reached an agreement in Geneva in June calling for a transitional government in Syria to bring an end to ongoing and bloody conflict in the country.

Different interpretations of the document began to emerge shortly after the accord was adopted, with Washington insisting that the document required that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave power. Moscow contested this interpretation, saying the document made no such claim.

“Statements, saying the document [Geneva accord] is as good as dead imply that someone seeks a pretext for military intervention. This is worrying as it can only lead to catastrophe in the region,” Lavrov said in an interview with Sky News Arabic.

Any proposal that stipulates the disarmament of only one party in the conflict was “unrealistic,” he said, adding that “Such proposals are aimed at regime change and not at curtailing the conflict and saving Syrian lives.”

Russia does not support the Assad regime, but rather works in the interest of the Syrian people and regards ending the ongoing violence in the country as its priority, Lavrov said. Moscow also rejects the imposition of any no-fly zone over Syria as a violation of Syrian sovereignty, he said, referencing recent statements by Washington.

Washington and Ankara are reviewing all possible measures to help rebels overthrow the embattled Assad government, including the implementation of a no-fly zone, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on August 12.

“We do not feel isolated because of our stance on Syria, on the contrary we maintain political dialogue with everyone,” Lavrov said, arguing that there is no single Arab country that would regard Russia as isolated.

When asked about the nickname – ‘Mr. Nyet’ – given to Lavrov recently by Arabic and western reporters, he embraced it: “I hadn’t even heard about it,” Lavrov told Sky News. “If international law is not being violated then I’m happy to be ‘Mr. Nyet.’”

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