Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Monday that state sponsors of the Syrian opposition were actively working to undermine the Geneva II peace conference.
“It’s outrageous, it is unacceptable, it is on the conscience of those who pay for the opposition, all of the units (of the opposition) has its sponsor or patron, either in the region or beyond. Everyone knows this, including our American partners. They all say that the Geneva II process should start but they act to undermine Geneva II,” ITAR-TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.
The Russian Foreign Minister went on to say that there had been “outrageous” threats against the organizers of the Geneva II conference.
“The sponsors of the Syrian opposition are responsible for these,” Lavrov added.
Lavrov continued, “It’s outrageous that some of these extremist and terrorist organizations are beginning to make threats. These threats are addressed to those who would dare to attend the Geneva conference, which is proposed by Russia and the United States, with the support of the whole world. The threats were put forward in relation to those countries which seek a political solution, and which oppose attempts to use force to settle the Syrian crisis. These threats are made against Russia. It’s been threatened that our diplomats overseas would be a legitimate target.”
The Russian Foreign Minister reiterated that “every opposition group has its own sponsor”, saying that:
“It’s not always the same state, but each group has a sponsor either in the region or beyond. All this is well known, including by our American partners. Together with (the US) we are seeking to ensure that these sponsors are fully aware of their responsibility for the behavior of the opposition…There’s a whole pile of problems associated with the fact that the opposition is divided into separate groups, each of which has its own viewpoint. Fighting units that were previously associated with the Syrian National Coalition, and which were formed from Syrian opposition activists abroad, are now trying to distance themselves from interaction with (the Coalition), claiming that they had not sworn any oath of allegiance to it. And a variety of groups are declaring that they are closer to Al Qaeda, and that they are acting under their direction.”
Lavrov made his comments after a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Leonid Kozhara.
(Featured image: Sergei Lavrov with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier this year.)