Lavrov Calls Cameron A Liar


MOSCOW – In an interview to the Ekho Moskvy radio station as part of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said the Libyan scenario of the development of the situation in Syria is impossible.

‘The Libyan scenario will not be permitted in the case of Syria. We guarantee this. Therefore, there is a need to sit down and talk,’ he said.

‘We need to reach a cease-fire and ensure that all the opposing sides sit down at the negotiating table,’ Lavrov said.

He added that a circle of people as wide as possible should take part in the talks: members of the Security Council, Syria’s neighbours, such countries of the Arab world as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as Iran. Representatives of the UN, the Arab League, the European Union should also take part in them.

At the same time, the foreign minister added that the Syrians should decide for themselves what to discuss and how. ‘They should have a feeling that their interests will be heeded,’ Lavrov said.

He added that the statement by British Prime Minister David Cameron, that during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Los Cabos Russia changed its stance on Syria, is inappropriate for such high-level politicians.

‘When David Cameron, speaking at a news conference in Los Cabos before flying home, said that following his conversation with Putin Russia changed its stance, it is a pure lie,’ Lavrov said in his interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

‘I do not think that leaders of such rank can interpret the content of their conversations in such a manner,’ the head of the Russian foreign ministry said.

‘Our logic was not shaken,’ he added.

Lavrov continued that the vessel Alaed, which had its insurance withdrawn and had to turn around in British waters, was carrying missile defence systems and reconditioned helicopters to Syria.

‘The ship was carrying air defence systems which can only be used to repel external aggression and in no way against peaceful demonstrators and yes, it was carrying three repaired helicopters,’ Lavrov said.

He said that the contract for the repair of the helicopters was signed back in 2008. The helicopters had been dismantled for transportation and significant time would be required for assembly.

‘So reports that the Russians were carrying helicopters which they could use against peaceful demonstrators, this is quite a distortion aimed at whipping up passions and putting Russia in a bad light,’ Lavrov said.

Lavrov also said that the incident with the Alaed is evidence of the unreliability of the British insurance system.

‘What happened with the ship which was carrying contracted property, military equipment to Syria, to fulfil our obligations, I consider this a display, if you want, of the unreliability of the British insurance system,’ Lavrov said.

‘Reports that the government asked the relevant insurance company to withdraw insurance from this ship, since there are European Union sanctions, cannot convince me. There is international law; the European Union sanctions are not part of international law,’ he said.

‘It is lamentable that, following the Americans, the European Union took the ground of unilateral sanctions. In this case, sanctions were used extraterritorially, affecting a company of a state which is not violating any international laws, no Security Council resolutions and which is not violating our internal, quite strict, export control legislation,’ he said.

‘Contracts, and agreements, should be fulfilled. This is the absolutely irrefutable truth,’ Lavrov said.

Meanwhile, Lavrov is convinced that it is impossible that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will step down voluntarily, and regards demands to this effect from Western leaders to be pointless.

‘A plan under which President Al-Assad needs to go off somewhere before anything happens in terms of a political process and an end to the violence – that’s not viable, because he won’t go.’

As the Russian foreign minister explained, ‘it needs to be understood that, whatever view you take of the elections that took place, at least half of the Syrians voted for Al-Assad, for his figure, for his party, for his policy, and, for various reasons, they are linking him to their future and their security’.

He confirmed the Russian position, which is that the fate of Syria’s president should be decided by means of dialogue among Syrians themselves.

‘We are not clinging to President Al-Assad. Our premise is that his fate should be decided as part of an intra-Syrian dialogue,’ Lavrov said.