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Russia urges consensus among Lebanese rivals
Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, March 2, 2012. (The Daily Star/Grace Kassab)
Russian ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin speaks during an interview with The Daily Star in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday, March 2, 2012. (The Daily Star/Grace Kassab)
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BEIRUT: Russia deems consensus among Lebanon rivals essential for the formation of the next government and the upcoming parliamentary elections, Moscow’s ambassador to Lebanon said Tuesday.

“The Russian stance is one of support for Lebanon’s sovereignty and stability and [Russia] reiterates the ongoing call for finding consensual solutions to [end] deadlocks in Lebanon, especially over the Cabinet formation and holding the elections,” said Alexander Zasypkin after talks with caretaker Interior Minister Marwan Charbel.

Zasypkin said he believed “the Lebanese will find a breakthrough to their crisis without foreign intervention in order to preserve civil peace and co-existence.”

The Russian envoy said the talks with Charbel addressed local and regional developments as well as an expected international conference on Syria.

Zasypkin said that his country was maintaining contact with the U.S. to set a date for the conference soon.

He also said the international conference should be held without preconditions from either the opposition or the government of President Bashar Assad.

“Holding the conference should be held with no preconditions, no side should impose any terms before dialogue begins, especially regarding the transitional phase and issue related to Syria’s future,” he said.

“These issues should be discussed at the conference between the Syrians themselves and the foreign sides will only be sponsoring the meetings,” he added.

The Russian envoy also said that the stepping down of Assad as a precondition for holding the conference was out of question.

“The Russian-American convention stipulates that the conference should be held based on the Geneva Communiqué which does not say President Assad should step down,” said the ambassador.

“Russia is not discussing such an option at all because such a condition can affect the conference and is considered a condition that is impossible to meet,” he added.

Last week, Washington and Moscow called for an international conference on Syria in Geneva at the end of May but President Barack Obama said that although he supports the new joint U.S.-Russian effort to seek a diplomatic solution in Syria, many obstacles still abound..

Obama vowed Monday to work to bring the Syrian government and rebels to the negotiating table in Geneva in coming weeks but warned that it would be hard to bring the situation in Syrian under control.

 
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