The news agency TASS reports (source):
Moscow regrets Washington’s opinion that efforts to rebuild Syria should begin only after the political transition of power is over, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with Egypt’s Al Ahram newspaper published on Saturday.
According to Lavrov, efforts of post-war reconstruction and humanitarian assistance are now taking the center stage in the country.
“We need to help all Syrians in need, without preconditions and politicization,” Russia’s top diplomat said. “In this respect, we regret the stance of the United States and the European Union, who keep linking – including publicly – the allocation of funds for rebuilding Syria to the political transition. If this is not politicization of humanitarian assistance, then what is?”
He added that Moscow keeps rendering all possible support to Damascus in rebuilding infrastructure and delivering humanitarian cargo both through bilateral channels and via international mechanisms, including the UN and its agencies.
“The figures speak for themselves: since July 2018, with the help of the Russian side, 800 educational and 150 medical facilities have been rebuilt, over 1,000 km of roads have been repaired, over 1,000 km of power lines have been laid, over 130 of water supply facilities have been put into operation,” the minister said. “The Russian Center for the reconciliation of the warring sides in Syria carries out humanitarian missions on a daily basis, delivers aid to various regions of the country and provides medical assistance.”
In addition, the internationally supported effort is under way to clear the Syrian territory of landmines, unexploded ordnances and explosive devices. In February, Russia donated $1 million to the UN Mine Action Service to finance its work in Syria.
Lavrov reiterated that Moscow’s approach to the Syrian crisis is well known. “We consistently support a political solution based on respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic, with respect to norms of the international law,” he said.
“As the situation in Syria stabilizes and improves, those who nurtured opposition and radical groups in Syria, openly demanding to topple the government of [Syrian President Bashar] Assad, have eventually started to realize this [the need to take a similar approach]. And this is good news,” Lavrov said. “At present, this aggressive rhetoric is no longer used with regard to the Syrian leadership.”
According to Lavrov, the return of Syrian refugees to their homeland remains another important topic in Syria’s post-war reconstruction.
“Russia’s initiative on the matter was supported by many countries in the region. We are working with our partners to put it into practice,” Russia’s top diplomat said.