Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Friday there is no civil war in Syria, but rather an ongoing battle against “roving” international forces.
“It is more of a fight against forces that, one way or another, are roving between different kinds of conflicts within various states,” Shoigu said at the start of negotiations in Moscow with a Swedish military delegation led by Defense Minister Karin Enstrom.
Russia urges UN probe into Libyan weapons' shipments to Syria
The Russian Foreign Ministry urged the UN Security Council to probe likely arms supplies from Libya to Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich said in a press conference on Friday ''Moscow will submit an official proposal to the UN Security Council for investigating the violation of an arms embargo on Libya.''
Lukashevich said "if the mentioned facts are true, we are witnessing a flagrant breach of the embargo imposed by the UN Security Council resolution on Libya."
"Our permanent representative in New York has been instructed to make the proposal to the UN Sanctions Committee referring to media reports that expose a whole set of problems in the observation of the embargo on arms supply to and from Libya," Lukashevich said.
The spokesman reiterated Russia's firm stance that there is no military solution to the crisis in Syria, stressing that solution lies in dialogue.
He urged all sides to coordinate efforts for convening the international conference on Syria as soon as possible, indicating that Moscow will continue to work for speeding up the implementation of the initiative on holding the conference.
''The main task right now is to unify the Syrian opposition according to Geneva communiqué issued on June 30, 2012,'' Lukashevich said, requesting that the US partners work to achieve that goal to pave the way for convening the conference.
The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov said, following his meeting with his US counterpart John Kerry in Brunei a couple of days ago, that "the US recognizes that the key of political solution to the crisis in Syria lies in unifying the opposition on the basis of Geneva communiqué issued on June 30 , 2012."
Gatilov: Arms supplies to 'Syrian opposition'' breach of international law
Russian Deputy FM, Gennady Gatilov stressed the importance of convening an international conference on Syria as to reach a political solution there.
In an interview with Russia Today TV Channel on Friday, Gatilov said that the UN Human Rights Council decisions and the unilateral decisions that hurl accusations at the Syrian government, and not the armed opposition, hinder the conference.
Gatilov said that ''latest decision by the Human Rights Council on Syria is not much different from previous ones…All unilaterally accuse the Syrian government of human rights breaches, which is inconsistent with reality.''
Gatilov added that the armed terrorist groups are violating human rights, citing several human rights NGOs which have documented many incidents to that effect.
He indicated that such decisions obstruct creating a suitable atmosphere for settling the crisis in Syria. On his meeting on June 25 with representatives of the US and the UN, Gatilov said ''the meeting was held with a view to defining the formula of Geneva 2…The talks focused on nominating the participant sides and organizational issues…We reached common understanding on a wide range of issues that left us with the impression that the US partners believe in mutual work.''
Gatilov pointed to ''no few differences'' in viewpoints with the Americans on the conference, particularly Iran's participation and the muddled stance of the Syrian opposition, stressing the significance of Iran's and Syria's neighboring countries' participation as it would help yield positive results for finding a solution.
Gatilov said "the Syrian government has officially announced that it backs the conference, but we received no signals from the opposition on their readiness to take part…they also did not name their representatives.''
He added that it is early to set a date for convening the conference, recalling a G8 summit call for holding the conference as soon as possible.
Asked whether the crisis in Syria triggered a replay of the Cold War between Russia and the US, Gatilov said that the Russian-US relations cannot be depicted as such, affirming that Russia seeks to create positive atmosphere and is searching for a common ground on Syria.
He added that Russia has vetoed UN unilateral draft resolutions on Syria for they blamed the Syrian government only, indicating that Moscow has been interested in drafting balanced resolutions.
On whether Russia's stand on Syria had been prompted by its experience in Libya, Gatilov said "Our Western partners had their own way in interpreting the UN Security Council resolutions on Libya contrary to their content…the resolution to impose a no-fly zone over Libya came to protect civilians, but they used it for destroying the infrastructure.''
Gatilov said that supplying the Syrian opposition with weapons violates the international law, describing as unfair Western calls for Russia to stop arms supplies to the Syrian government as "the influx of weapons to the Syrian opposition continue to flow in broad daylight."
He cited a New York Times report about arms supplies from Libya to the Syrian opposition in violation of the arms embargo on Libya.
On Russia's proposal to send Russian troops to Golan to replace the Austrian battalion that was pulled out from the UN peacekeeping mission, Gatilov said ''the Russian proposal still holds and the Syrian government welcomed it, but the Israeli side signaled unwillingness, citing a UN Security Council Resolution issued 40 years ago that prohibits the five permanent member states from taking part in the peacekeeping mission in Golan.''
''But things have changed over four decades, and if the political will is there, this condition can be overstepped,'' said Gatilov.