Russia Makes Clear: Final UN Document Does Not Require Resignation of Assad
July 2, 2012 • 8:05AM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made crystal clear that the Western media, the U.S., the Brits, the Saudis, or anyone else who says that the conclusion of the meeting of the Action Group on Syria in Geneva was to call for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, is lying.

In a statement to Itar Tass, Lavrov said, "The document will not require the resignation," of Al Assad.

"In the initial version there was a phrase saying people, who prevent peace, should be excluded," he said, but "this runs counter the principle of an inclusive political dialogue in Syria and the U.N. Charter principle on the non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states. This runs counter the logic saying Syrians themselves should decide their fate.... That is why a thesis saying it is necessary to exclude anyone from the peace process was taken off on our insistence," he noted. Lavrov also stressed in other press remarks that countries that are encouraging, funding, or arming opposition terrorists or fighters must stop and force their groups to peace negotiations.

Lavrov was echoed by China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who told reporters in Geneva that China supports the agreement and that "the transitional plan regarding Syria can only be led by Syrians and with the approval of all important sides in Syria," reported the Syrian news agency, SANA. The Chinese Foreign Minister also said that China welcomes the results of the meeting's terms of transition in Syria, "adding that as long as sides are committed to neutral, patient in-depth talks, then understanding can be achieved," SANA wrote.

The text of the agreement itself absolutely confirms what Lavrov said — there is no regime change statement whatsoever — but that hasn't stopped British Foreign Minister William Hague from lying every day since the meeting took place. According to the July 2 (Monday) edition of the London Independent, Hague said, "Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be excluded from the transitional unity government proposed as part of a new United Nations peace plan for the country," the Independent wrote.

But the agreement puts the opposition terrorists on the spot—they immediately rejected the UN Annan Plan which not only sets out goals for a negotiated political transition involving all parties, and minorities, but also keeps the Action Group of the countries that met in continued existence—set to meet when "events" determine the next step. The Action group includes the P5 of the UN Security Council, Turkey, three Arab League members—Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait—by virtue of the committees they chair, and the Secretaries General of the UN (Ban Ki Moon) and the Arab League (El Araby).

The Brits, Saudis, and media that have been backing the Syrian fighters are furious about the results of the meeting. Saudi's London-based Asharq al Awsat newspaper filled its pages with declarations by the Syrian opposition that they reject the Geneva declaration. "Veteran Syrian opposition figure Haitham Maleh" is quoted by Asharq saying, "It is a catastrophe, the country has been destroyed, and they want us then to sit with the killer? The Syrian people are the ones who will decide the battle on the ground, not those sitting in Geneva or New York or anywhere else," Maleh said by telephone from Cairo, where opposition groups are to meet Monday, Asharq al Awsat reported.

The opposition Syrian National Council said, "The Syrians will not accept engaging in any political track while the killing continues," and would not negotiate with Assad or members of his "murderous regime." The Syrian Free Army, based in Turkey, has not yet been heard from.