Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) stands with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (L) in Moscow on April 13, 2012. (file photo)
Russia and China say any decision on a transition of power in Syria should only be made by the Syrian people.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi announced their countries’ stances after a meeting on the situation in Syria at the United Nations office in Geneva on Saturday.
Lavrov said that Moscow had convinced other parties to accept that Syrians should make the decision on any transition and that no party should be excluded from the process.
"How exactly the work on a transition to a new stage is conducted will be decided by the Syrians themselves," he said, adding, "There are no demands to exclude from this process any one group. This aspect had been present in many of our partners' proposals. We have convinced them that this is unacceptable.”
Yang also emphasized the need for an all-Syrian solution to the crisis, noting that "outsiders cannot make decisions for the Syrian people."
UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan said at a press conference after the meeting that diplomats meeting in Geneva have reached an agreement on a Syrian-led transitional governing body that “could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.”
The plan “makes it clear that we have provided guidelines and principles to assist the Syrian parties as they move ahead with the transition,” Annan stated.
Moscow and Beijing opposed the wording of the proposal that called for an interim government that excludes those “whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation.”
The foreign ministers of Russia, China, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Arab League Secretary General Nabil El-Araby, and the secretary of state of the United States attended the meeting.
But diplomats from Iran and Saudi Arabia were not invited to the Geneva meeting.