Yesterday's press conference by Sergey Lavrov focused on Syria has brought together at this possibly turning point Russia's older positions together with some new subtle/subtile emphases and signals with respect to Moscow's view on how to solve the war in Syria together with Russia's "colleagues," who have been trying to destroy Syria and turn it into what has become of Libya on a bigger scale in the Middle East (Levant). Lavrov's and Moscow's stated positions are also worth comparing and contrasting with their approach to Donbass and Ukraine. What follows includes passages from Russia's Foreign Ministry's own English transcripts:
1. Lavrov made it clear that he considered the West (and CIA) creation as one of the "representatives of the Syrian people;" for Lavrov, there is no principal/principled difference between this front and the Syrian government:
"As for the conversation I have had with former head of the Syrian National Coalition, Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib, as I’ve already said, the meeting does not attest to any changes in Russia’s approach. We have known each other for more than two years, and have met on a number of occasions in Moscow and other cities. This meeting reflects our commitment to working with all the representatives of the Syrian people with no exception, including the government and all opposition groups, without pinpointing or favouring anyone."
2. According to Lavrov, the Syrian war ought to be resolved by "common consent" among all the principled enemies, "spanning the ENTIRE Syrian political spectre," which is a demand which no country in the world follows for it is politically and principally impossible:
"The Geneva Communique, which is recognised by everyone as a framework for settlement, clearly states that political settlement and the resolution of the Syrian crisis in general should be based on an inclusive dialogue spanning the entire Syrian political spectre, and all issues should be decided by common consent."
3. The Russian government and Lavrov uses the West's negative term "regime" for the Syrian government, as demonstrated by Lavrov here: "It soon became clear that the opposition forces cover a much wider spectrum, so resuming the political process implied bringing opposition forces together so that they can engage in constructive dialogue with THE REGIME, as envisaged in the Geneva Communique."
4. While acknowledging the threat of ISIS, al Nusra and other extremists who dominate the so-called "Syrian opposition," which, for most part, is neither Syrian in its character, leadership, creation, or goals, when speaking of "the solution," Lavrov quickly forgets to make any necessary distinctions and demands that "ALL Syrian opposition groups" be involved in talks about the regime change in Syria:
"As you know, Moscow has hosted two meetings. All opposition activists were invited, including representatives of all Syrian opposition groups inside Syria and those operating from abroad."
5. According to Lavrov, Russia "shares the concern over the continuing crisis in Syria and the humanitarian disaster in this country" with "everyone else," whom Lavrov exemplified as "our Qatari friends," "US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir":
"We also raised this issue during the talks with our Qatari friends that we just had. We discussed it with Egypt, where efforts are being made in this direction, too. We also talked about it during the meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. Just like everyone else, we share the concern over the continuing crisis in Syria and the humanitarian disaster in this country."
6. Lavrov, however, prefers a more politically correct or ambivalent cover term "political transition" to "regime change":
"However, the Geneva Communique signed by the international community including the permanent members of the UN Security Council, Turkey, the EU, and the Arab countries, including Qatar, was not about a regime change but about a political transition period with certain parameters to be agreed by mutual consent between the Syrian government and the opposition. That is what we are working on."
7. On a question about the possible change of Russia's position regarding its support for Bashar al-Assad, Lavrov dodged the question by claiming that all this "has nothing to do with what we are discussing and what we have agreed to be guided by":
"When you ask whether Russia is ready to make concessions regarding its support for Bashar al-Assad, you are asking a question that has nothing to do with what we are discussing and what we have agreed to be guided by – the need to establish a dialogue between all the opposition groups and the government."
8. While saying that the Syrian conflict must be decided by the Syrians ... and "ALL its opposition groups," Lavrov cannot but say that the fate of Syria is being discussed and the "principles" of the would-be solution determined by foreign powers. When speaking truthfully, the so-called "Syrian opposition" is thus actually a proxy of foreign powers:
"As I said, this matter was discussed by the foreign ministers of Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States today. Each of these countries is making efforts to see the opposition groups work out a common approach for the negotiations with the regime, the upcoming negotiations to be led by UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. ... Without reaching an understanding among external players, each of whom has some influence on one or another party in Syria, it is very difficult to expect the political process to begin in earnest and remain stable and successful."
9. Importantly, according to Lavrov, like the US and Saudi Arabia, the two leading enemies of Syria, Russia too is trying to work out unity and one "common approach" of the so-called "opposition" to "the regime"; unity and common strategy of "opposition" effectively commanded by the US and Saudi Arabia means in political and military language, its strengthening:
"As I said, this matter was discussed by the foreign ministers of Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States today. Each of these countries is making efforts to see the opposition groups work out a common approach for the negotiations with the regime ..."
10. In Ukraine, Russia did not even dare to suggest that the anti-junta, anti-Bandera opposition ought to be part of a "transitional government," not to mention any call for uniting all the anti-junta forces on a common platform and for a "common approach."