Russia opposes 'Libyan scenario' in Syria and will block resolution

Syrian government supporters wave national flags they stand in a fountain in front of a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad during a pro-regime rally in Damascus (AFP Photo / LOUAI BESHARA)
Russia will not bargain with the West over the fresh draft resolution on Syria, says Russia’s deputy foreign minister. The draft in its current form ignores the Russian position and therefore, has no chance of being accepted, Gennady Gatilov said.

­"It is not part of our political practice to trade our principles," Gatilov said on Monday as cited by Interfax. "We don't bargain, but seek consideration for our positions and our vision, which are based on our knowledge of regional realities and our historical experience.”

"Russia can only support the resolution if it fixes Russia's principled approaches, which I have mentioned and which are shared by many other countries," he added.

On Tuesday, the UNSC will hear the Arab League's report on the findings of its recent mission to monitor the ruling regime's response to the popular uprising in Syria. France and the UK are pushing for the adoption of a new resolution drafted by Morocco. The resolution would back the Arab League's plan for the transition of power in Syria from President Assad to a unity government.

Russia resists a swift vote on this, saying it wants to study the Arab League's report in detail before taking any step. Moscow has vetoed a previous UN resolution on Syria, citing its ambiguous language that could provide for a foreign intervention, and contemplates banning the new one.

The UK urges Russia to stop blocking the UN move.

"We believe that the UN must act to support the people of Syria and that Russia can no longer explain blocking the UN and providing cover for the regime's brutal repression," the UK Prime Minister David Cameron's office said on Monday.

The UN estimates over 5,400 people have been killed in Syria since the popular uprising against the regime broke out ten months ago. Assad says he is fighting an armed foreign insurgency and bears heavy troop losses.

­Moscow offers Syrian parties a time-out

­The opposition Syrian National Council says it has not received an invitation to come to Moscow for informal talks with the Syrian government. While Damascus authorities reacted favorably to Russia’s initiative, the SNC doubts it would agree to join.

­“We have called on the Syrian authorities and all the opposition groups to send their representatives to Moscow for informal talks without preconditions,” read the official statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website on Monday.

The Syrian government has already agreed to come to the Russian capital, says Moscow. Russia hopes to receive a reply from the opposition in the coming days, which would allow the talks to start “as soon as possible.

But the diplomacy attempt does not seem to have changed the mood within the Syrian National Council, which had earlier said that it wants to see violence in the country stop, before any talks begin.

"We have not received any offer like that officially,” Abdel Baset Seda, an official with the Council told Reuters.

I think, if such an offer exists, it will be no more than an attempt to influence the [UN] Security Council. But I say clearly that our position has not changed and it is that there is no dialogue with President Bashar al-Assad," he added speaking from New York, where he was following the Arab League's meeting with the UN Security Council.

However, political analyst Doctor Hisham Ghassib told RT the Syrian opposition is not a monolithic bloc, and the decision of any one group to come to the negotiating table will ultimately depends on its geopolitical alliances.

“This is a good initiative on Russia’s part, but I don’t think it will succeed because of this external opposition [the West and groups based outside of Syria].The internal opposition – the opposition I call the patriotic progressive opposition inside Syria – will ultimately agree to such an initiative. Unfortunately, the rest of the opposition, those who are organizing the armed gangs, I don’t think it is in their interest to accept such an initiative.”

Watch RT's full interview with Doctor Hisham Ghassib