Foreign Minister: Russia has made situation in Syria unforeseeable

The situation in Syria is now such that the EU will likely not be able to stop the inflow of refugees from there. And Russia's recent military support for Bashar al-Assad has not made the situation any more clear: "No one knows when it'll end, and that includes people in Moscow," said Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs (Unity) in an interview on Latvian Radio Wednesday.

Rinkēvičs thinks that EU's tries to allocate more funding for the countries neighboring Syria to create refugee centers there, as well as arresting human traffickers in the Mediterranean, will not be able to fully stop the stream of people flowing into Europe.

The only thing that the EU funding for countries admitting refugees can do is to make this flow "more controllable and organized".

Due to Russia's intervention in Syria it's hard to foresee how the situation will evolve, the Foreign Minister said. If Russia wanted to fight ISIS and similar groups, it should have sought cooperation with the anti-Islamic State coalition, but it didn't happen.

"The 21st century world is tightly knit. Even events that seem remote from us influence us too. We see it with the inflow of migrants from Near East and Northern Africa, due to [military] conflicts and poverty. This is an important discussion for the Latvian society too," said Rinkēvičs.

"I think that at the moment Russia, which is outside the anti-Islamic State coalition and supports [Bashir al-]Assad and bombs not only terrorists of the Islamic State, but also those opposing [Assad] who aren't determined to be terrorists, is only furthering and exacerbating the conflict," said Rinkēvičs.

Rinkēvičs said that Russia is pursuing three goals: supporting Bashir al-Assad, turning the world's eyes away from the conflict in Ukraine, and showing itself to be an important player in international processes. As for Ukraine, there seem to be good news, said the Foreign Minister:

"First of all, the ceasefire is somewhat stable, and secondly, the elections that were scheduled in Donbas for October 18 and November 1, are currently cancelled. The peace is being held."

The situation in Syria could be regulated, according to Rinkēvičs, could be settled with long talks. But the EU, US, Turkey and others should take part in solving the conflict.

"We have to stop thinking that the EU can solve the world's problems," said Rinkēvičs.

Rinkēvičs said that at an informal Foreign Ministers' meeting during the UN General Assembly in New York it was decided that Europe will continue supporting such policy that conflicts in Syria and Ukraine could be solved in a process similar to that which took place about the Iranian nuclear program.

"That is, we should renew the Geneva format in 2012 when the US took part along with top EU and Gulf states officials. Iran wasn't represented there, while Russia was. It is now completely clear that Iran, along with supporters and opponents of Assad should be there, but no the terrorist groups.

It's completely clear that if you want a political solution you need Assad in there," said Rinkēvičs.

Earlier Rinke'vičs said that there's not much of a dynamic in Western relations with Russia as the relations are influenced by the situation in hot spots. Formerly it was Donbass and now Syria. Though Latvia should carefully follow Russia's actions by the border.

"We think that the fifth article of the NATO agreement is very important. We will do a lot to make the presence of NATO soldiers long and substantial," said the Foreign Minister.

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