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Syria: Russia warns of 'bloody chaos' if talks fail

A top Syria diplomat is consulting with Russia on the conflict, while UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is leading separate peace talks.

A SYRIAN GOVERNMENT delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad held talks at the Russian foreign ministry today as Moscow denied the existence of a joint plan with the United States to end the crisis in the country.

Muqdad met Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who told the Syrian diplomat of the need to immediately halt the violence in Syria, the foreign ministry said.

“The Russian side emphasised the lack of an alternative to a peaceful solution to the conflict,” the ministry said in a statement. There must be a “halt to the violence, bloodshed and suffering of the Syrian people”, the statement stressed.

However, latest reports say that Russia has warned of ‘bloody chaos’ if peace talks led by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi fail to end the conflict.

“The alternative to a peaceful solution is bloody chaos. The longer it continues, the greater its scale – and the worse things get for all,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the Interfax news agency.


The meeting came amid a flurry of end-of-year diplomacy in Russia that will also see talks between UN-Arab League Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and Lavrov on Saturday.

Brahmi has called for “real change” in Syria and the quick introduction of a transition government “with all powers”. But the Syrian opposition swiftly retorted that such an interim team could not include President Bashar al-Assad or his top lieutenants.

Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the talks with Brahimi would be “directed at ending the violence and launching a national dialogue in the country between the authorities and the opposition”.

The foreign ministry said Muqdad also informed Moscow about the regime’s latest contacts with Brahimi, who held talks in Damascus for several days before his arrival in Russia.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr is also coming to Moscow later today for a visit that will include talks and a news conference with Lavrov on Friday.

The diplomatic drive comes amid Western media reports of a new Russia-US initiative that would see Assad stay in power until 2014 while preventing him from further renewing his mandate.

But Lukashevich vehemently denied the existence of any such plan. Russia has always insisted it will not prop up Assad’s regime but has also emphasised Moscow will not seek to persuade the Syrian president to step down.


Lukashevich said the United States and other powers who agreed the Geneva accord had “turned their position 180 degrees” by supporting the opposition and holding no dialogue with the government.

Lukashevich recalled that the Geneva agreement had contained no demand for Assad to leave power and warned that striving for his removal risked causing more bloodshed.

“If the goal is to get thePpresident’s head that means a continuation of the bloodshed and an colossal responsibility on those who strive for such goals,” he added.

- © AFP, 2012

Read: Head of Syrian military police defects to opposition – reports>

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