MOSCOW, August 18 (Itar-Tass) — State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Konstantin Kosachev said the international community should uphold political reforms in Syria in order to prevent throwback.
The world community “should find opportunities to encourage the Syrian leadership in its drive for carrying out political reforms. New sanctions could put out this process”, Kosachev told Itar-Tass on Thursday.
“I believe that it is very dangerous to go too far. If there is no reaction from the U.S. and its allies, sooner or later the Syrian leadership refuses to make concessions,” the lawmaker said. “Russian diplomats are working actively with American partners in this aspect. I hope that European partners will take a more balanced approach. They should draw lessons from Libya’s experience,” he noted.
Commenting on Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s statement, Kosachev said, “This is the second signal given by the Syrian leadership to the international community and the population of the country.” “The first signal is that the Syrian authorities are ready to carry out comprehensive political reforms and introduce a real multi-party system,” the State Duma lawmaker stressed.
“Both signals are steps towards the right direction. But this will work if this process is accompanied by real actions and not by corresponding declarations,” Kosachev pointed out.
According to the U.N. press service, the secretary-general expressed concern over the latest reports on continued large-scale violations of human rights and excessive use of force by Syrian security services against civilians all over Syria, including the Al-Ramel district in the city of Latakia where several thousands of Palestinian refugees live.
The report says that the secretary-general emphasised all military operations and mass arrests should be immediately stopped. Assad said that military and police operations had been stopped.
Ban Ki-moon also called on the Syrian president to start trust-evoking and peaceful process of reforms to carry out all-embracing changes. In response, the Syrian president listed reforms he intends to make over the next few months, including a review of the Constitution and parliamentary elections.
Ban Ki-moon pointed to the need for the earliest implementation of reforms, precluding a new interference by the military.
The secretary-general expressed gratitude to Syrian authorities for agreement to receive a U.N. mission to assess the humanitarian situation. The Syrian president said that the mission would get an access to various places in Syria, the press release says.
Russian experts believe that the development of a Libyan scenario in Syria is unlikely.
“Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt cannot be mixed with the situation in Syria and Libya,” the president of the Middle East Institute, Yevgeny Satanovsky, said. “At present, President Bashar al-Assad can keep the country under control, but the question is, for how long.” “Unlike other countries of the Arab Middle East engulfed by riots, at this moment Syria practically has no leaders of the existing elite, who have moved to the opposition and try to dethrone Assad. We have an absolutely different situation there and first of all, the external factor – the influence of Saudi Arabia, Turkey and partially Iran – is important,” he said.
“It is still unreal to repeat Libya’s scenario in Syria,” senior researcher of the centre for Arab Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Boris Dolgov, said. “NATO got stuck in Libya, there are no positive breakthroughs in Afghanistan, terror acts continue in Iraq.”
At the same time, Russian experts paid attention to some social and economic factors that aggravate the crisis situation in Syria. “The growth of the population in the country is 2.7 percent,” they said. “Under such conditions the economic growth should at least reach 8 percent a year, while in reality it does not exceed 3.5 percent.”