Lavrov to UN: Important not to let US-Russia agreements on Syria collapse
"The main thing now is to prevent the collapse of those arrangements [between Russia and the US], objectively and impartially investigate the undermining incidents in Deir ez-Zor and Aleppo, particularly, that there’s many who want to sabotage the agreed approaches to the Syrian settlement,” Lavrov said during the general debate at the 71st Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Earlier in September, US-led coalition planes bombed Syrian government troops in Deir ez-Zor, and a few days later a UN humanitarian convoy was attacked in Aleppo.
The minister stressed that “it’s essential to fulfill the UN Security Council [UNSC] demand to dissociate the so-called moderate opposition from the terrorists. Here, special responsibility rests with the US and the members of their coalition.”
“Their refusal or inability to do this in the present circumstances can’t but strengthen the suspicion that it’s being attempted to remove Jabhat al-Nusra out of harm’s way and that the plans for a regime change are still on the table,” he said, adding that it would be a “grave violation” of the UNSC resolution.
Lavrov reiterated that “resolving the crisis in Syria will be impossible without the suppression of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups, which joined them. It’s the key to strengthening the cessation of hostilities and achieving a nationwide ceasefire.”
“Open sabotage of the political process by some representatives of the opposition abroad, which occurs as their patrons turn a blind eye, has a negative impact on the reputation of the UN and, again, suggests that the reason here is rooted in the desire to create a pretext for attempted regime change,” he said.
According to the Russian FM, it is also “unacceptable to delay the start of intra-Syrian negotiations without any preconditions,” as envisaged by resolution No. 2254 of the UN Security Council.
Lessons must be learned from previous crises to “prevent Syria from slipping into catastrophe,” Lavrov said.
“The arrogance and self-righteousness in pushing through unilateral, adventurous solutions to complex conflicts is visible in the examples of the bleeding regions of the Middle East and North Africa,” he said.
Such an approach leads to the “destruction of the foundations of global stability,” the FM warned.
“Largely due to Russian military assistance, provided to the legitimate Syrian government in response to its request, it was possible to prevent the collapse of the country under pressure from terrorists,” he added.
The ceasefire in Syria was agreed on during talks on September 9 between Moscow and Washington. Both sides agreed to influence the Syrian government and the so-called moderate rebel forces respectively in order to held bring an end to hostilities.
Since then, Moscow has repeatedly complained that Washington is failing to keep to its side of the bargain.
The US has blamed Russia for not pressuring Damascus enough to facilitate humanitarian access to Syria.
But the ceasefire was put at risk by the bombing of Syrian government forces by US-led coalition warplanes in Deir ez-Zor on Saturday, during which some 62 soldiers were killed and 100 more wounded.
The deal suffered another blow after a UN-humanitarian aid convoy was attacked in Aleppo, killing 21 people, with both the US and Russia trading accusations over the incident.