‘Agony of departing administration’: Russian senate leader blasts US position on Syria

Syrian army soldiers during an assault on Jabhat al-Nusra fighters in Aleepos eastern district of Suleiman al-Halabi. © Mikhail Alaeddin
Russia’s Federation Council speaker has called the US suspension of contacts with Russia over Syria settlement “an agony,” adding that she suspected the US side of intention to divide Syria into several parts that could only lead to new round of war.

To me this resembles an agony of the administration that is leaving office without glory, that has completely failed its Middle East policy,” Valentina Matviyenko commented to reporters on Tuesday about the recent announcement by the US State Department that it was “suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia” in which the sides attempted to negotiate peace in Syria.

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They have admitted that Libya and Iraq were their mistakes, but still they wanted to repeat this same scenario in Syria,” Matviyenko said.

The senator also noted that she still saw a possibility for the US side to attempt an overthrow of President Bashar Assad by force with a subsequent division of Syria into several states, as happened in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The process has come to be known as ‘Balkanization’.

There are certain people who would prefer to dismember Syria into separate enclaves using the Balkan scenario. But this would mean many years of never stopping civil war,” she said.

At the same time, Matviyenko promised that Russia would continue to apply efforts for further prevention of escalation of situation in Syria using the international community, in particular the United Nations and its Security Council.

We must not allow the forceful displacement of a lawful president, even if some people do not like him.”

She said that Russia was not refusing to hold further talks with the US, but demanded that Washington drop its dictatorial tone.

Negotiations are a two-way street and it is impossible to hold them in the US as it is used to dictating only. This is not the language of negotiations, but rather of ultimatums and dictatorship. We are not used to such style of talks.”

However, when reporters asked Matviyenko if she could describe the current relations between the Russian Federation and the United States as a new Cold War, she replied with a request “not to overdramatize.”

READ MORE: 'There's no alternative’: Russian UN envoy says US decision to suspend Syria contacts ‘regrettable'

A Cold War is a standoff between two ideological systems, but now we have a struggle of economic and geopolitical interests in which one side attempts to maintain all its benefits and its dominating role

They are in a virtual world and they want to remain a global government or a global dictator,” she said.

But now the situation in the world is different and relations deteriorate because now Russia can protect its economic and national interests. We will continue to do so.”