Russian FM Lavrov: Political solution only way to end Syria's crisis

July 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM
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DAMASCUS, Syria, July 22 (UPI) -- A political solution is the only way to settle the crisis in Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"There is no military solution to the Syrian problem," Lavrov said in Moscow after talks with Syrian Vice Prime Minister Qadri Jamil. "We'd like all parties involved in the conflict to know about it. We continue to meet with the government and all opposition groups and convince them to accept the Russian-American initiative on the convocation of the Geneva-2 conference as soon as possible without any preconditions."

However, he said the majority of the opposition groups, including the National Coalition, was resistant to a political solution, ITAR-Tass reported.

"We know that the Syrian government is open for the dialogue with the opposition," he said. "We call for continuing the efforts aimed involving all opposition groups in the upcoming Geneva conference."

He said he hoped the Russia-U.S. international conference on the Syrian crisis could take place soon.

"We believe that this task should be one of the points of the international conference," Lavrov said. "It is necessary to work out concrete measures in order to implement the Geneva communique."

Jamil said all weapons agreements between Syria and Russia were in effect, ITAR-Tass reported.

"All the agreements between Russia and Syria in the field of the supplies of weapons are in progress," Jamil said. "The contacts continue; they remain in force."

Since the civil war began as protests against Bashar Assad's presidency in March 2011, an estimated 100,000 people have died, the United Nations estimates.

At least 183 rebels and civilians were killed in weekend fighting with Syrian Army forces across the country, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights posted on its website Monday.

About 65 people were killed outside Damascus and the city of Adra northeast of the capital, the report said.

Twenty-nine deaths were reported in Idlib province, 21 in the Aleppo region and others in Tartous, Daraa and other areas, the organization said.

SANA, Syria's official news agency, said dozens of "terrorists" were killed by the army in clashes in various locations.

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