G20 Has Differences on Syria - Putin
"I see that I am going to have to repeat Russia’s position of principle. We think that no one has the right to decide for other peoples who should come to power and who should be removed from power," said Putin.
Part of Syria’s people, those represented by the armed opposition, want to see President Assad leave, he said.
"Firstly, they do not represent the entire Syrian people. Secondly, the most important thing is not simply changing the regime itself, but ensuring that if it does change – and this should be achieved through constitutional means only, the bloodshed will then stop and peace will return to the country," said Putin.
All of the parties in the armed conflict have to agree to stop the bloodshed, sit down at the negotiating table and first come to an agreement on how they are going to continue living together in the same country and guarantee the interests and security of everyone involved in the conflict, he said.
Putin's position is likely to dash the hopes of the Arab League, which is counting on Russia and China to come on board and support UN Security Council resolutions on Syria. So far, Russia has rejected two resolutions calling for regime change in the country, which is now in civil war.
Russia and China need to be on board in order for the Syrian conflict to be resolved at the UN Security Council level, and the relations between Cyprus and Russia could be helpful towards this end, said Arab League Secretary-General Nabil el-Araby during his visit to Nicosia earlier this week.
Most of the international community is calling for Assad to step down. The EU has also recognised the Syrian National Council and slapped strict sanctions on his regime.
As of July 1st when Cyprus takes up the EU presidency, it will be the leader of the EU and the EU is a major player in giving the Syrian people the right to attain their legimate demands, said el-Araby.
What is happening in Syria is a grave violation of human rights and there is a big question mark as to what the international community is going to do, he said.
The problem is internal but the Syrian people must be able to attain their legitimate rights, said the Arab League leader.
"We in the Arab League have already tried to handle it, within the Arab House, and we could not," said el-Araby.
Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis remained non-committal on the issue, saying only that Cyprus is 'instrumental' in persuading the EU to engage with Russia and China and that she is gratified that things are moving in that direction.
Thousands of civilians have been killed in Syria, including women and children, in what has become a vicious civil war that has seen massacres and the continued bombardment of cities.
The only attempt at a ceasefire has failed.
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