Lavrov: U.S. could be more effective in drawing Syrian opposition to Geneva II
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has advised the U.S. Department of State to be more judicial about the fulfillment of its commitments regarding the preparations for the Geneva II international conference for Syria.
"We hope very much that our U.S. partners and other countries, which not only have influence but also encourage opposition groups to carry on their fight, understand their responsibilities with regard to their role in the convocation of Geneva II," Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow.
"It is strange to hear sporadic statements of certain workers of the U.S. Department of State" who only put emphasis on Russia's influence on Damascus whenever they speak about the promotion of Geneva II, he said.
"A Russian proverb says they are laying their own fault at somebody else's door, because we are actually exerting influence on Damascus and this influence yields tangible results," Lavrov said.
He recalled that Damascus had received an Arab League observation mission, accepted the Kofi Annan plan and agreed with the deployment of the UN observation mission in Syria and its participation in the Geneva II conference. Moscow influenced Damascus in each of those cases, Lavrov said.
The Syrian opposition is disentegrating into small groups and combat units are withdrawing from the National Coalition's orbit and declaring a caliphate, rather than the struggle for democracy, as their goal, he said.
"Probably, the opinions publicly expressed by State Department workers could have been a bit more self-critical," Lavrov said.