World, Middle East

Russia urges West against 'double standards' in Syria

Russian foreign minister says US uses 'Kurdish factor' to undermine Syrian sovereignty

Elena Teslova   | 03.07.2019
Russia urges West against 'double standards' in Syria Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov

MOSCOW 

Russia's foreign minister on Wednesday called on the West to avoid double standards in fighting terrorism in Syria. 

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Sergey Lavrov said the U.S. was trying to use the "Kurdish factor" to undermine Syrian sovereignty.

"The U.S. is trying to speculate on the Kurdish factor, using the Kurds to build a quasi-state on the Eastern Bank of the Euphrates. Thus, the Kurds are simply being used to promote the line in undermining the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, to drive a wedge between the Kurds and the Arab tribes that have lived in these territories for centuries," said Lavrov.

He noted that there were reports of "serious clashes" between Kurds and Arab tribes in Syria.

'We're worried. I hope the United States will avoids actions that violate UN Security Council resolutions and the balance of interests of all ethnic and religious groups living in Syria," Lavrov added.

Addressing to the U.S. "deal of the century" to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Lavrov said the economic part of the deal aimed to keep Palestinian refugees outside Palestine and in the countries of their temporary residence, was against UN resolutions.

The "deal of the century" has yet to be revealed in full. However, based on leaks in the media, it envisages major concessions to Israel regarding the status of Jerusalem and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in historical Palestine. 

Last week, the White House announced $50 billion in investments for Palestine and neighboring Arab states as part of the plan, which involved increased infrastructure projects between the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The White House has described the plan, as aiming to "empower" the Palestinian people.

Palestinian-Israeli negotiations collapsed in April 2014, after Israel refused to stop settlement activity and accept the two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders. Israel has also reneged on the promise to release Palestinian detainees from Israeli jails.

Lavrov underlined that unsettled conflicts in the Arab world lead to new confrontations.

He expressed concern over "growing tension" in the Persian Gulf and how the "Iranian factor" impacted political developments in the region.

"We reaffirmed our proposal to initiate dialogue between the Arabs and Iran with a view to strengthen confidence, transparency in military activities and for negotiations on the formation of a collective security architecture in this part of the world," he said.

On May 26, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered to sign a non-aggression pact with its Gulf neighbors during his visit to Baghdad.

The move came amid rising tension between the U.S. and Iran since Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations comprising of the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany.

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