Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov ©AP
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the situation in Syria has witnessed significant changes, and that preconditions for a victory against terrorism and the establishment of a true intra-Syria dialogue are emerging.
“The situation in Syria has seriously changed in the past seven months, and preconditions have emerged for us to defeat terrorists and to organize the truest intra-Syria dialogue, so that only Syrians themselves could decide the future of their country,” Lavrov said on Friday.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian foreign minister blamed the West's “incompetent” policies in the Middle East and North Africa for the ongoing devastating crises in the region, which have claimed thousands of lives and left many others uprooted.
“What is happening in the Middle East and North Africa is the direct result of a very incompetent and unprofessional attitude to the status quo,” Lavrov said, adding that Western powers have “acted like a bull in a china shop in order to assert their dominance.”
“Iraq was not broken, Libya was not broken, Syria was not broken. They (Western powers) started to fix the situation, and they got what is happening there now,” Lavrov said.
The top Russian diplomat further argued, “Who will guarantee that Syria won’t repeat the Libya scenario” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is removed from power?
The Russian foreign minister also described the potential disruption of the ethno-confessional balance in Syria as outrageous.
“The Middle East is the place where the three divine religions of Islam, Judaism and Christianity have co-existed for thousands of years. What is happening in Syria now threatens to destroy the ethno-confessional balance, which has endured despite deadly wars," Lavrov said, adding, “If we witness the disruption of this balance in our time, it would be a disgrace for all of us.”
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures that it receives from various sources.
A ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect in Syria on February 27, but it does not apply to the Daesh and al-Nusra Front terrorist groups.

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