Thursday, March 22, 2012

Syria: "The UNSC statement represents a face-saving way out for anyone who wants to back away from previous hard-line positions!"

 'A very Unhappy British rep... leaving as the 'Statement is recited!'
"...The positive outweighs the negative,” is perhaps the phrase that best expresses the official Syrian position on the United Nations presidential statement issued on Wednesday.........  from the Syrian government’s point of view, the statement is still nothing but “empty words” even though it represents a face-saving way out for anyone who wants to back away from their previous hard-line positions against the Syrian regime.
The Syrian position seems to highly value Russian efforts at the UN Security Council (UNSC), especially Moscow’s insistence to all concerned parties that its acceptance of this non-binding compromise does not mean a change in its principled position on the crisis in Syria.
Syrian official sources say that “there is a clear direction now toward a political solution led by Syria and sponsored by the international community.”The source adds, “The question of President Bashar Assad stepping down...has been thrown in the trash bin. The only option offered by the international resolution is a dialogue within the framework of a political process led by Damascus.”...
They point out that “there would no longer be a predetermined result to the dialogue which is what previous Arab decisions had demanded when Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco wanted a dialogue with set limits and a predetermined outcome, namely Assad’s departure.”
These sources indicate that as far as Damascus is concerned “the mechanisms of the solution have become clear to everyone. The first step is to calm down the situation and provide emergency humanitarian aid, to be followed by a dialogue involving all those that have weight on the ground, after armed groups lay down their weapons.”
They stress that “the last point is significant because it is the first time that the UNSC has recognized the presence of armed groups inside Syria.”
The sources confirm that “Syria is committed to positive engagement. Now the opposition, along with Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco, should do the same. If that were to happen then it will be the beginning of the end of the crisis.”.... 
Sources close to the Syrian regime note that a “colossal efforts” was made by the Russians to get to this statement, pointing out that “Moscow exerted tremendous pressure and was keen to inform all concerned parties from the US to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar that its acceptance of the statement does not mean that there has been a change in its principled position on the Syrian crisis.”.........
The sources point out that the statement also confirms the willingness of Syrian authorities to provide humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting but “at the right time,” meaning it will be up to the Syrian government to determine if it is possible to do so based on the situation on the ground.
The same sources maintain that the question of humanitarian assistance is not a simple one. It requires defining a clear mechanism for delivering aid after it gets inspected.
“There is a basic question at stake, namely, who guarantees that aid items won’t include weapons especially since civilians in many conflict areas have fled, leaving only the fighters who know how to fend for themselves. So why is there this insistence on delivering materials to these places?” they wonder.......
When asked about the Syrian government’s position on this statement, the sources confirm that “for Syria, the outline is clear and that is: reject anything having to do with the Arab League and welcome anything related to the humanitarian situation based on conditions on the ground.”.... These sources confirm that the UN statement is a reflection of the Syrian authorities success in controlling the situation on the ground.
They say: “the Russians cannot defend you this way unless you are strong. They would not have been able to do the same thing had you been defeated. Incidentally, every time you hear about an attack or explosion in Damascus or Aleppo, know that armed groups are responding to a setback they suffered somewhere else in Syria.”
These sources are keen to confirm that “the whole story with Annan and his initiative is, until this moment, nothing but dust in the wind.”
He came to Damascus and held talks offering what is called in diplomatic language a “non-paper,” and we replied in kind. We welcomed his effort without a paper. He left. He told us I will send a team to discuss the details and we welcomed that step too.
“In the end,” they say, “we welcome any effort that contributes to finding a Syrian solution to the crisis without undermining Syrian sovereignty. But until now, there is no agreement with Annan and no agreement on his initiative.”
The sources add that the UN envoy “sent a delegation of observers to Syria to discuss matters on the ground. But you know, observer missions are flexible.”
“The Arab observers,” they add, “came here to carry out a specific mission and ended up working on delivering assistance to troubled areas. The same thing happened with Annan’s team. They are touring flashpoint areas and are still exploring the situation on the ground.”

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