Oleg Ozerov, Russian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat said that if anyone wishes to look into the truth behind Russian air force targeting Syrian Opposition areas or the assassinating Alloush, they could visit the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation’s website to be in-keep with Russian activity in Syria.
The Russian official refused for his country to be accused for purposely foiling the third Syrian Geneva peace talks, in a clarification that there are some parties attempting to harm Saud-Russian relationships by taking advantage of the Syrian suit. He confirmed that Moscow won’t halt its military campaign against terrorism in Syria. However, he made it clear that Russia did not assassinate Zahran Alloush, nor does its air force target Syrian Opposition zones.
The official expressed that he is looking forward to the Saudi role in the Geneva Feb. 25 peace talks that will bring-about the negotiations success.
Ozerov pointed out that his country is trying to normalize relationships between Tehran and Riyadh to maintain regional stability.
Here is a selection on subjects discussed with Russian ambassador Ozerov
* There is a contrast with Russian and Saudi view point on the political solution for the Syrian crisis and the Iranian role in it – Are there binary talks on bending the Feb.11 as to pave the way to a political solution, and the appeal of the Geneva negotiations?
On that subject, Ozerov said that certain parties are moving towards denting the Saud-Russian relationship by taking advantage of the Syrian suit, however, Russia shares with Saudi Arabia the interest in counter-terrorism and political resolution in Syria.
He also said that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques had stated that true benefit rests in a political settlement for the Syrian crisis which is based on the foundation of the Geneva agreement and U.N. resolution 2254.
The Russian administration considers the aforementioned vision a common base to cooperate with Saudi Arabia for the Syrian settlement.
Ozerov expressed Russian hope for Saudi Arabia to support the Opposition’s parties, especially the HNC (the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee) to resume negotiations in Feb.25. He also highlighted that Saudi efforts are a necessity to push the negotiations forward.
Russia is prepared to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to encourage negotiating parties to return to the peace talks, despite the dissimilarity between the Russian-Saudi view points on the Syrian suit, both countries want to see peace in Syria and it being restored to its norm, Ozerov cited King Salman bin Abdulaziz’s words while receiving the Syrian Opposition’s delegation in Riyadh.
Hopefully the upcoming Feb.11 meeting in Munich will present an opportunity for Russian and Saudi representatives to deliberate on the war-torn Syrian suit.
* Pentagon has welcomed the notion of Saudi Arabia sending ground troops to fight ISIS in Syria… How do you read into this?
This initiative was put forth by Saudi Arabia and within the framework of the U.S.-led international coalition formed to fight terrorism, in which Russia is not a part in.
A Russian Presidential Spokesman had announced two days ago that the Putin administration is keeping a close eye on the Saudi initiative and are still waiting details on its next stage, Ozerov commented.
* Some spheres blame Russia for the death of 400 thousand Syrians, and are requesting it being accounted for them
Ozerov explained that these accusations are being directed from the Turkish leaderships, ever since the rapport between the two countries deteriorated. These accusations are not directed because of Russian activity, but they came after the downing of the Russian plane on which regrettably has not been reciprocated by a Turkish apology or proposal on compensation, Ozerov said.
Instead of hearing news on a settlement or peace-keeping efforts, controversially, news is coming in on escalations from the Turkish party against Russia, without being based on any evidence, which is why these accusations articulate Turkish political temper.
* There are allegations on Moscow using Syrian navy bases in the Tartus Governorate and its military airbase in Lattakia, in preparation for establishing a minor state for Assad
If Russia was truly working on establishing a separate state for Bashar al-Assad, then why would it be insisting on the Kurdish participation at the negotiations?, Ozerov elaborated.
Russia is concerned with the Syrian national unity, unlike the reflective opinion Turkey is viewing, which persists on ruling out the Kurds from the Syrian negotiations.
Ozerov said that anyone pointing fingers towards Russia for taking steps against political settlement in Syria suffers from severe short memory. They should remember who it was in 2013 that removed chemical weapons from Syria, in addition to the flexibility it has shown on issuing U.N. resolutions, like resolution 2254.
* Russia has put both Jaysh al-Islam( organization belonging to the Syrian Opposition) and ISIS under the same category
The Russian ambassador said that his country and the U.S.-led West each see the classification and definition of what a terrorist organization is differently. This particularly calls on collaboration between Russia and those who have a different vision on things, so that a collectively accepted list is generalized for the definition of a terrorist organization and a moderate one, Ozerov added.