West may fail to bring Syrian opposition to Geneva talks in time – Lavrov

Published on Russia Today RT, October 1, 2013.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has expressed doubts that the West will be successful in getting the Syrian opposition to take part in the ‘Geneva-2’ peace conference, which he expects to take place in mid-November. Lavrov, stressing that this needs to happen, suggested that getting “rational members” of the opposition on board is a priority, RIA Novosti reports. He said there is still a lack of clarity regarding who will participate in the anticipated peace talks, “which is a big problem.”  

Speaking at a Tuesday press conference in Moscow, Lavrov confirmed that a substantial number of the opposition’s commanders have broken free of Syrian National Coalition control.

“While this whole business drags on, the radical, Jihadist elements of the opposition, like Al-Nusra Front and others, are gaining in strength.”

The current issue we are faced with is “not to waste any more time,” Lavrov added … //

… According to Lavrov, “we will probe for the truth” in any case.

Lavrov underlined that the “data pertaining to our investigation of the incident near Aleppo on March 19 has been made available to all members of the UN Security Council and, I think, they should even be around online and free to view.”

An incident now widely accepted as an attack involving chemical agents, namely – sarin gas – took place on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo, on March 19, in the town of Khan al-Asal.

The Russian and Western sides are sharply split over who caused the attack and what is to be done. US President Barack Obama has already threatened military action against Syrian President Bashar Assad. The US president believes that if blame lies with the regime, it constitutes a ‘red line’ for the Western world, and would give them the go-ahead for military action.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, on the other hand, said that probes from Khan al-Assal show chemicals used in the March 19 attack did not belong to standard Syrian army ammunition and that the shell carrying the substance was similar to those made by a rebel fighter group.

“We have no doubt that sarin gas – which was used on March 19 in Aleppo, is home-made… We also have information to corroborate that in the course of the tragic events of August 21, when chemical weapons were used, sarin gas of a very similar chemical signature to the one on March 19, was used, but of a much higher concentration,” the FM concluded.

(full text).


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