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Syria: Assad pushes his case with BRICS

Friday 8 March 2013, by siawi3


Shubhajit Roy

New Delhi, Fri Mar 08 2013, 00:03 hrs

Ahead of the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summit in Durban on March 26-27, Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad is learnt to have asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take the lead in drafting a strong and forceful BRICS declaration — favourable to Syria, opposing external military intervention and stressing on peaceful negotiations — when the heads of five-member grouping of emerging economies meet.

Assad’s message to Singh, which was handed over to National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon by the Syrian President’s special envoy Bouthaina Shaaban on Wednesday, also calls for implementation of the Geneva accord. Shaaban, who is Assad’s political adviser, told The Indian Express , “We want India to take the lead in making a strong statement to end violence in Syria. We want violence to stop immediately, since Syrian people are paying the price.”

“We want BRICS to take a position which will impress upon the international community to implement the Geneva accord,” she said. Shaaban also confirmed that she has already travelled to Brazil, Russia and China to convey Syria’s expectations from them. After Delhi, her next stop will be South Africa.

The Geneva accord says that conflict must be resolved through peaceful dialogue and negotiation alone, so that a credible political agreement can be reached. It also says that sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be respected.

Shaaban thanked the India for its position, which opposes external military intervention and calls for a Syrian-led political process. She also said that the US and France have been making positive statements in the recent weeks.

She also met External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Minister of State (External Affairs) E Ahamed.

BRICS had last year expressed deep concern at the situation in Syria and had called for an immediate end to all violence and violations of human rights in that country.