International Conference on Syria Proposed

News Brief – June 10, 2012

Even as tentative plans have been made for an international conference to resolve the ongoing crisis in Syria, Russia appears to be on a collission course with the West.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made it clear that he doesn’t believe Syria’s ally Iran should be excluded from the conference.
“In order to be effective all the sides with any influence on the sides in the Syrian conflicts should be represented there. Iran is one such country,” Mr Lavrov said.
However, his statement was at odds with comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton earlier last week.
“It’s a little hard to imagine inviting a country that is stage-managing Assad regime’s assault on its people,” Clinton said in response to questions about Iranian involvement in the proposed conference.
Hilary Clinton’s comments come despite accusations that Western Special Forces are providing Syrian ‘rebels’ with covert assistance. In addition to financial and diplomatic support from the West, arms and ammunition are also being supplied to Syrian insurgents through proxies in the Western allied Gulf states.
According to one senior foreign policy figure who spoke to the Financial Times, a conference to resolve the crisis could be held in late June following a meeting between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Mexico next weekend. The tentative location, he said, would be Geneva.
While the West and its servile corporate media have repeatedly blamed Syria for recent atrocities, despite conflicting evidence, Russia has said both sides in the conflict are responsible.
Nonetheless, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also indicated that Russia would not stand in the way of the departure of President Bashar al-Assad if that is what Syrians want.
”If the Syrians agree [on Assad's departure] between each other, we will only be happy to support such a solution,” Lavrov said.
”But … it is unacceptable to impose the conditions for such a dialogue from outside. You have to force them to sit down at the negotiating table after first halting the violence”, he continued. “That’s the point of this conference.”
Although Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has voiced U.S. objections to Iran’s participation in the proposed conference, the U.S. has not signalled opposition to the conference itself.
For its part Russia has said that it would halt arms shipments to Syria after completing previously signed contracts to supply it with Russian air defence systems, which are scheduled for delivery in the coming weeks.
However, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has made several veiled references to outside involvement in the continuing voilence in Syria.
Speaking with journalists in Moscow, the Foreign Minister voiced concern about “the reaction on the part of some foreign players”, who, he said, “support armed groups of the opposition and at the same time demand that the international community take decisive steps to change the regime in Syria”
The main reason the peace plan proposed by Kofi Annan is stalling is because those who support external intervention in Syria impede its implementation, said the Russian Foreign Minister.
Moves toward peace in Syria are not progressing, he said, because certain parties “don’t like” the idea of the stabilization it can bring. “They want the international community to be filled with indignation and start a full-blown intervention in Syria,” he said.

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