Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Tasnim News Agency in Tehran, Sergei
Ryabkov pointed to the ongoing developments in Syria volatile city of Idlib, and
said, "I think by all means there is no other way, but to eradicate terrorist
enclaves in Idlib. We think [that] this is of crucial importance for
reestablishment of normal life in Syria altogether. You’re right when you’re
saying that the so-called guarantor states which is Russia, Iran and Turkey have
somewhat different use on what needs to be done and how should be done there, I
also believe, although I [don’t] have straight forward evidence to this, but my
belief is that Turkey is under a heavy pressure from the US and some others on
so-called western camp not to allow this operation to happen."
"This is very unfortunate because those among the position who are ready to come to terms with the government in Damascus and start participating in a political process have been offered ample opportunities to this end and some of those people have fortunately aware themselves of this opportunity but not all of them."
Pointing to the US stance, the Russian diplomat said, "The most troubling aspect of this situation is that, it seems to us that the US continuously tried to play the cards of the militants including those associated with Nusra [Front] in whatever name it’s now operating under, it’s Nusra and this is a terrorist organization, we cannot allow this people to continuously undermine the normal life of people to continue their activities of terror, violence, causing new casualties, not making any thing possible in this area, which is fundamental for the normalcy to return to Syria."
"We heard on some ideas with respect to local ceasefires, we support those, we have also some ideas that eventual distinguishment between different groups is possible within these enclaves, those people who believed that this is possible should continuously try to do so."
As regards the role of Turkey, Ryabkov noted, "I think Turkey can play a more proactive role to this end, but just to say look now it’s not time to this operation, it’s very wrong, and I think after the meeting in Tehran, the Turkish leadership understood better that this is the common position of the two other guarantor states and their leaders and they would make hopefully the right consequences out of it."
"I would not agree that the outcome is somewhat grey or murky, the most important thing is that the leaders met and had in depth discussions on this issue, they exchanged the evolutions and judgments and generally we are progressing even on these very difficult issues like we did all three of us together on other issues in Astana and in Sochi. This is all and all a success story, I state this in full confidence, contrary to what is a very weak and not convincing effort of some others and not to mention a very dangerous and destructive activities of the US within Syria, which is of growing concern to us."
Answering to a question about the western countries claims about possibility of the use of chemical weapons in Idlib, Ryabkov noted, "I absolutely reject any idea of the Syrian government contemplating any use of chemicals in combat in Idlib or elsewhere. All the ideas that point to sort of ultimatums that are being produced by the US and the US allies within NATO are based on very false pretexts and very weak, if any, ground."
"There is no need for the Syrian government to use this type of means in the combat. They understand in Damascus fully what might be the consequences; moreover, where are those capabilities? Everything in relation to the military chemical potential of Syria was destructed under international control. What otherwise could be conceived as part of this program was destroyed subsequently with the presence of international observers and to add a cherry on this cake, I would say the French president himself under the most recent illegitimate and unlawful attack against sovereign Syria said now that "everything that may have any relation to Syria military chemical program is destroyed”."
"So from where all this would now come into possession by the Syrian government? It is self-contradictory; it only reaffirms our understanding that this is part of a broader provocation, which is being staged by special services of some countries within Syria and also is being done with full assistance on the part of so-called non-governmental organizations which essentially are in the toolbox of those governments being used in their fight against the legitimate government in Damascus."
Regarding political processing in Syria, he said, "We are working together with guarantor states so the congress of the Syrian people most recently held in Sochi with a good progress achieved there, we work jointly with Turkish and Iranian governments to ensure that this development to what’s a basis for forming out a new constitution is laid as agreed and we also say that this is a no way a compensation a substitute for the Geneva process. The US says more and more that there is no alternative to the Geneva process, everything else is being regarded with a good deal, mistrust and criticism, negative reactions, it only shows that the US does not recognize what others do, when others succeed, they feel that their policies in Syria are on a very shaky ground, they’re hardly explainable."
"If we’re still within the idea that Syria should be preserved as a sovereign, unified state, the US presence in parts of Syria look now like their being stablished for an infinite period of time, this is a troubling development. We had some messages on the part of the US officials that they have no plan to abandon Al-Tanf or places in the vicinity of this area, this is clearly an effort to anchor itself in Syria, so that they continuously will have a base to operate against the government in Syria and also have the means to manipulate the situations in Syria to the bad fortunes of Syrian people. They have declared that they would not participate in the effort of rebuilding Syria, they work against the return of Syrian refugees. So across the board we have a very straight forwardly negative policy line on the part of the US."
"We will continuously talk to them on the political issues not just the situations on the ground, not just on the conflict in the dissections on the so-called conflict, which is how to avoid incidents in the air when presence is on the ground are where operations from the air were taking place, this will continue by all measure but we will also talk politically to the US explaining how failed the policy is and how wrong this intention to create troubles to people and government in Syria is."