Russia: US attack on Syria would cause "surge in terrorism"

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid ak-Muallem gives a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on 9 September 2013 following a meeting in Moscow. (Photo: AFP - Yuri Kadobnov)

Published Monday, September 9, 2013

Russia on Monday warned a military assault on Syria risked causing an "surge in terrorism" in the region and urged for a peace conference to end the two and a half year civil war.

"All the more, politicians share our estimation that a military solution will lead to a surge in terrorism both in Syria and in neighboring countries," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after talks with Syrian counterpart Walid al-Muallem.

"The possibility for a political solution remains," Lavrov said, emphasizing that his Syrian counterpart has assured him at the talks in Moscow that Damascus was still "ready for peace talks."

Russia and the United States agreed in May to organize a peace conference in Geneva bringing all the sides to the negotiating table but the idea is far from materializing amid tensions between Moscow and Washington.

"We are truly ready to take part in the Geneva conference without preconditions," said Muallem. "We are also ready for dialogue with all political forces who favor reestablishing peace in our country."

Muallem also questioned US motives in Syria and accused Obama of backing Islamist extremists, drawing comparisons with the attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001.

"We are asking ourselves how Obama can... support those who in their time blew up the World Trade Center in New York," he said.

Lavrov reaffirmed his belief that military strikes on Syria could wreck the chances of holding the peace conference.

"Most specialists believe that if the strikes happen the chances of holding the conference would be undermined," he said.

Lavrov revealed that UN-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi had told him on the sidelines of the G20 meeting in Saint Petersburg last week that he shared this view.

(AFP, Reuters)


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