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Political settlement for Syria looms with American-Russian consensus

English.news.cn   2013-05-11 04:17:45            

DAMASCUS, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Hopes for a possible political settlement for Syria's two-year crisis loom on the horizon as the United States and Russia renewed diplomatic efforts in Moscow earlier this week.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed on Wednesday to push for the implementation of the Geneva communique, which Syria had agreed upon last year, and to call for an international conference that would combine representatives of both the Syrian government and the opposition groups by the end of May.

The move was hailed by the Syrian government, the domestic opposition, the United Nations and the Arab League as well as the international envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, who reportedly said that the planned conference was "the first hopeful news concerning that unhappy country in a very long time."

Brahimi also called on the United States and Russia to exercise leadership and work together to initiate a process to implement the Geneva communique, which was issued on June 30, 2012 to lay out key steps in a Syrian-led political process to end the violence in Syria, including calls for the formation of a transitional government but did not stipulate the ouster of President al-Assad.

On Thursday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry issued a statement welcoming what it called the U.S.-Russian "rapprochement" regarding the crisis in Syria.

In a statement carried by the state-run SANA news agency, the Syrian ministry stressed that the credibility of the United States in adopting the political solution to the long-time crisis depends on its efforts to push its allies to halt violence and terrorism and to use their sources to set the stage for the political dialogue.

"Everybody should realize that the Syrian people are the ones to decide their future and the constitutional system for their countries without any foreign intervention," the ministry said, adding that "Syria has already taken steps toward the political program based on the Geneva communique."

Syria's political analysts and opposition factions at home deemed the fresh and long-awaited understanding between Russia and America as "the start of a roadmap toward a political solution to the Syrian crisis," noting that such understanding needs " practical steps" to materialize.

While regarding the understanding as "an important step," Syrian experts called on world powers that want to take part in the planned conference to practice pressure on the broad-based opposition groups that have rejected all calls for negotiation with the Syrian authorities before the departure of President Assad.

The analysts said the exiled Syrian opposition's stance hinders all international efforts to find a political solution in Syria.

Khaled Aboud, a Syrian parliamentarian, said the recent comments by John Kerry during his visit to Moscow constitute "a notable change in the American stance toward the crisis in Syria."

He said the shift in Washington's stance was mirrored with its acceptance to call for an international conference.

The United States has emerged as a backer to the Syrian opposition and even helped the Syrian rebels with "non-lethal aid. "

Moreover, several voices inside the Obama administration have urged the United States to militarily intervene in Syria, slamming all political solution talks against the wall.

In a recent phone interview with Xinhua, Aboud said the American-Russian consensus is a "leap forward."

Khalaf al-Muftah, Syria's deputy information minister, said that "What we have heard in the conference between the Russian and American foreign ministers is a reason for optimism and an indication about both countries' consensus regarding finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis."

Al-Muftah told Xinhua that both super powers had realized that the Syrian crisis would have grave repercussions on the regional and international arenas and would threaten the international peace and security and "that's why the Americans are trying to find a political exit to the crisis in Syria based on the Geneva declaration."

The participation of Russia and America in the upcoming international conference would constitute a "real guarantee" for finding a settlement to the crisis, he said, underlining the important role of China and Russia in creating a balance in the conference.

On the domestic opposition side, the head of the oppositional National Coordination Body (NCB) hailed the international consensus as "an important step toward finding a political solution in Syria."

Speaking to Xinhua by phone, Hasan Abdul-Azim warned the exiled opposition against rejecting to take part in the planned conference because their reluctance would "lead the country to destruction and division."

Abdul-Azim warning came as the broad-based National Coalition commented on the calls for an international conference as saying that "any political solution to the ongoing conflict in Syria starts by the departure of Assad."

Despite the opposition reluctance, the United States will seemingly push its allies in the Syrian opposition to accept to take part in the conference amid reports that former U.S. ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, has started meetings with leaders of the Syrian opposition in Turkey's Istanbul to push them to form a delegation to the conference, according to al-Hayyat newspaper.

Editor: Fu Peng
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