Assad main sponsor of terrorism, says Qatar
December 26 2015 01:25 AM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov shows the way to his Qatari counterpart
HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah during a meeting in Moscow yesterday.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is the main sponsor of terrorism in his country, Qatar’s Foreign Minister HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah said yesterday.
He was speaking at a joint news conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow.
Al-Attiyah said Assad’s regime has killed and displaced more than 5mn people.  
The foreign minister said Qatar was against labelling all armed opposition in Syria, adding it was important to first understand why each group resorted to arming itself.  
He said Qatar’s position on Syria was to first set up a transitional ruling authority with full powers and then to establish security and stability in the country in order to complete the transition phase.
Al-Attiyah said Qatar opposed the creation of lists of opposition before peace talks on Syria.
“We are against the absolute classification of groups. What is more important is to understand the logic behind why these groups took up arms, their aims and motives,” he told reporters.
He said the international community must seek a resolution to the Syrian crisis based on the Geneva agreement rather than starting from scratch and warned that failing to find a resolution to the crisis will not benefit any party.
Responding to a question on Qatar’s agreements with Russia on the Syrian crisis, the foreign minister said there were many points both parties can build on. One of them was the unity of Syrian land and the transition of the country towards democracy.
As for differences, al-Attiyah pointed to the legitimacy of Assad and expressed his appreciation that Russia was against using violence to topple governments.
Al-Attiyah said the international community has great responsibilities in light of the terrorism threat facing the Middle East and added such a threat requires Arab countries working with friendly nations to establish security and stability.
The foreign minister said terror threat grows as the violence of dictatorships continues. As a result, Qatar condemns any act of violence against the Arab people, he added.
On Palestine, the minister said Israel has to end the occupation of Palestinian land taken in 1967 and recognise an independent state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital.
He said his talks with Lavrov were constructive.
Al-Attiyah said bilateral relations with Russia were based on mutual respect. He also highlighted bilateral trade and co-operation in the field of energy and expressed his hope of further co-operation in the future.

Top rebel leader
killed in airstrike

Zahran Alloush, the chief of Jaish al-Islam, a major armed rebel group operating in the suburbs of the Syrian capital, was killed along with some aides in an airstrike near Damascus, a monitoring group reported yesterday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a warplane targeted a meeting attended by Alloush and other leaders of Jaish al-Islam in the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus. Five aides of Alloush were also killed in the attack, the Britain-based watchdog said.

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