Russia denies proposing Kurdish autonomy in Syria

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People gathered near Derbassiyah town in northeastern Syria, bidding farewell to Arab fighters who were killed while backing Kurdish forces of the YPG against ISIS. Photo: ARA News

ARA News

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, denied reports about the Russian government proposing autonomy to the Syrian Kurds during.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday met with Syrian opposition members, including Kurdish officials, to discuss a political solution in Syria.

“A political settlement was and is a central theme of the meeting between Russian Minister Sergei Lavrov and representatives of the Syrian opposition, and the constitution is a part of that political process,” Zakharova said.

However, she underlined that the Russian delegation during the Astana talks did not propose a Kurdish autonomy in Syria.

“We firmly believe that the Syrian people themselves must determine their country’s future. We make every effort to stick to this approach, because only Syrians can uphold their country as an integral, sovereign, multi-ethnic and multi-religious country,” she said.

Nevertheless, an alleged draft law that was leaked to the media, proposed autonomy for the Kurds in northern Syria, as well as language equality.

Zakharova said that the invitation of Kurdish representatives to peace talks on Syria is necessary.

Members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) have been repeatedly excluded from all Syrian peace talks, including the latest Russian-backed Astana talks that took place last week. This despite that Russia in the past also has said that the PYD should be invited to peace talks in Geneva.

Two PYD representatives at the meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister on Friday proposed plans for a federal Syria, the Associated Press reported.

In the meantime, the PYD co-chair Salih Muslim said that the Russian draft proposal doesn’t satisfy the Kurds.

“We believe that what is stated in this project isn’t enough and doesn’t meet our ambitions. We had discussed points similar to the points contained in this project, during the meeting of the Kurdish parties with the Russians in the military base of Humaimim,” he said.

Furthermore, the Russian government spokesperson rejected a statement by Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesperson for the Syrian armed opposition, who accused the Russians of acting like Paul Bremer–the head of the US coalition authorities in Iraq in 2003-2004, who allegedly imposed his ideas on Iraq and decided to disband the Iraqi army, which some say led to a new civil war in the country.

“We strongly disagree with this assessment, which does not correspond to reality and generally distorts the picture. Russia is not trying to impose anything on Syrians – neither the terms of the settlement nor the new constitution,” she said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in his opening remarks with Syrian opposition members in Moscow on Friday also condemned the statement by al-Aridi.

“This is a misleading position, because the Iraqi constitution was forced on the people by the occupation authority as an ultimatum, while we have only offered our proposals to the Syrian parties without any intention of forcing them to adopt them,” he said.

“Based on the experience of the past five years, we are convinced that practical work can only begin if specific proposals are put on the table. I hope that all Syrians will read our draft while preparing for a meeting in Geneva and that it will provide an impetus for a practical discussion of ways to achieve accord in Syria in keeping with the Geneva Communique,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News 

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