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17 Nov, 2011 03:09

‘Russia maintains dialogue both with Assad and Syrian opposition’

Russian lawmaker and foreign policy architect Konstantin Kosachev thinks that Russia is “probably one of the very few, or maybe the only country, which maintains dialogue both with Assad and with the opposition.”

Kosachev told RT that the opposition has visited Russia recently.“We had rather a good discussion in Moscow – nobody else does the same thing. People either support this or that part. We are impartial, we have dialogue with each side, and hopefully we will succeed in promoting further political process there.”The head of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the State Duma believes that targeting Damascus is counterproductive to solving the crisis in Syria, while, he notes, the situation is getting more and more alarming.“For me the fact that the violence is escalating is a reflection of the wrong approach taken by certain states, a unilateral approach, when they keep saying to the people of Syria that ‘You, people, are right, and the authorities are wrong’. This is a wrong approach, because that type of messages introduces an illusion that, the people of Syria can get freedom and democracy by using violence against the ruling authorities and not by negotiations.”According to Kosachev, the message being sent to the Syrian authorities and the Syrian people by Russia is “much more appropriate.”The sanctions by the Arab League and the West are based on the argument that Damascus is cracking down on peaceful demonstrators. But Damascus says it is fighting the Free Syrian Army, which is apparently well-armed and coordinated, and is staging a full-on assault on the regime. As for Russia’s view on the way the Free Syrian Army are conducting themselves, there are certain “questions” to them concerning this, as the Russian lawmaker points out.“We do have questions because we can see they use heavy weapons, they are well equipped, so it is not just about throwing stones at policemen or bodyguards – this is about using heavy weapons and this is a real war. And for Russia the most important thing is to prevent further casualties and victims, and the only way to do that is to maintain the political process once again. I believe that Russia, the US and the EU, the Arab League and anybody else is to send the only message to all conflicting sides in the country – that is to try and speak to each other.”