SNC Says Russia’s Credibility Badly Damaged

Feb. 9, 2012: The Syrian National Council (SNC) considers that Russia needs to restore its credibility in the eyes of the Syrian people by using its influence on the Assad regime before it can claim to play a role in any political solution. The SNC urged the Russian government to reconsider its position and adopt a neutral stance on Syria. Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, during his recent visit to Damascus, clearly demonstrated that his government maintains a distorted view of the facts on the ground in Syria. With more than 300 unarmed civilians killed over the past three days and after the Russian veto of the Arab-sponsored and Western-backed United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution the Russian government’s credibility as an honest broker in the Syrian crisis has been badly damaged.

While Russia remains a potential mediator, it must consider the demands of the Syrian people as a basis for any future steps. The Syrian people have stated loudly and clearly, often amid continuous shelling by the regime, that the Revolution will not stop until Assad and his associates step down. Commenting on Mr. Lavrov’s visit to Damascus, SNC spokeswoman Dr. Bassma Kodmani said, “Russia has an opportunity to avoid further alienating the Syrian people, who will always remember who supported Assad’s crimes. Russia needs to get on the right side of history now and turn the page of the Assad regime together with the Syrian people. Syria will look to its friends and supporters as we rebuild our government and our nation.”

The SNC is committed to transitioning to a civil, democratic state that protects Syrian society in all its diversity and promotes the rights of all its citizens, but the SNC reaffirms that no such transition is possible in Syria with the current regime. We therefore urge the Russian government to first use its influence on the regime in order to stop the killings immediately. Based on the Arab plan which the Russian government had accepted, a negotiated transition can only come afterwards and will need to encompass the stepping aside of the head of the regime, a demand for which thousands of Syrians have died.

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