Russia says the Arab League’s recent decisions about Syria mean it refuses to allow “a peaceful settlement” of the Syrian issue.
“We have learned the results of the Arab League summit in Doha with regret, I can tell you frankly, ” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a media briefing on Thursday.
“We consider the main meaning of the decisions made that the Arab League has refused a peaceful settlement for Syria, ” Lavrov added.
On March 26, the Arab League gave Syria’s seat to its opposition bloc, known as the National Coalition, during a two-day summit held in the Qatari capital, Doha. The League also authorized its members to send all the means of what it called self-defense, including weapons, to militants fighting against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Lavrov further pointed to Arab League’s recognition of the opposition coalition as the sole representative of the Syrians, saying this casts questions over the position of Lakhdar Brahimi as the joint UN-Arab League special representative for Syria. “I simply cannot see how Mr. Brahimi could still be considered not only the UN mediator, but for the Arab League as well,” the Russian official said. The Russian minister further described the League’s decision to arm foreign-backed militants in Syria as an “encouragement” of violence which would amount to a “bitter end.” On Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry condemned the Arab League over handing Syria’s seat to its opposition. “In terms of international law, the league's decision on Syria is illegal and indefensible because the government of the Syrian Arab Republic was and is the legitimate representative member state at the United Nations,” the Russian ministry said. Many people, including large numbers of soldiers and security personnel, have been killed in the violence that broke out in Syria in March 2011.