Syria’s National Coordination Committee Visit Russia
Posted on December 17, 2012 by Akashma Online News
Source The voice of Russia
Yelena Suponina Original Posting Nov 30, 2012 21:23 Moscow Time
“We want Russian troops to stay in Tartus”: head of Syria’s National Coordination Committee.
Representatives of the Syrian opposition traveled to Moscow to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The National Coordination Committee is one of most moderate opposition groups which are ready for talks with the government. However, now its members fear arrest on their arrival in Damascus and are seeking Russia’s protection.
The head of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) of Syria says the “internal” opposition strongly opposes foreign interference in the affairs of the country.
Hassan Abdel-Azim, the head of the Coordination Committee and Syria’s delegation to Moscow, told the Voice of Russia about the Moscow talks and further plans of the opposition.
Upon arrival in Moscow for the NCC delegation’s talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Hassan Abdel Azim said the committee wants to radically change the situation in Syria to build a democracy.
Deputy Coordinator Aref Dalila, in turn, said that the opposition was ready to negotiate with the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
During the meeting with Russia’s Minister the Syrians hope to hear Moscow’s assessment of events unfolding in their country, and shall offer their views on how to stop the violence and what should be done by “external players” in order to facilitate this.
Have you noticed any changes in Russia’s stance when meeting with Sergey Lavrov?
Not a single change. We had extremely frank talks and Moscow perfectly realizes that Syria is now following the most dangerous possible scenario. When we came to Moscow last April, we warned of this possibility and our fears came true – the more Syrian government resorted to force, the more violence they saw from the opposition. Syria now has jihadists from the Arab and the neighboring countries.
Minister Lavrov told us that he had forwarded a warning letter to Syria’s government against using military hardware and jets in the conflict. This was a right move. I wish this letter had been sent earlier, taking into account that all these tanks and warplanes are Russian-made. When people are hit by shells and rockets, it certainly affects their attitude to the country.
What else was on the agenda?
We all agreed that the conflict can be solved only through joint efforts of the global community. We need the UN Security Council members to be unanimous and agree on the ways to end the conflict. We also need Iran, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia on the one side and the Arab countries on the other to act together.
What can become the common ground?
For example, the Geneva resolutions adopted this summer.
Lakhdar Brahimi’s mission in the country should also carry on with its work and we need a transitional government as well as a new constitution. The amendments adopted in early 2012 didn’t take into account the opposition at all. And we really need to stop the bloodshed.
What can the global community do?
Syria needs the resumption of international peacekeeping mission and it should be expanded – not some hundred of troops we had before.
We need observers in every province, especially in the border regions to stop weapon supplies and smuggling. We already spoke about this with Lakhdar Brahimi. We also don’t mind a peacekeeping contingent comprising Arabs and other nationalities.
Have you discussed Russia’s Mediterranean naval facility at the Syrian port of Tartus?
Yes we have, and we think that Russia has a right to stay there even when Syria becomes a real democracy. The talks made us feel that we are trusted, as we had always opposed foreign interference in Syrian affairs and backed maintaining close ties with our former partners. We need a balanced foreign policy and ties with all countries except Israel, which still occupies the Golan Heights. They should be freed and here we’ll need Russia’s help.