09/12/2013, 00.00
RUSSIA -US - SYRIA
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Patriarch Kirill to Obama : No attack on Syria

by Nina Achmatova
After the Pope's letter to Putin , the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church joins appeals of the spiritual leaders of the world to avoid a military solution to the crisis. Despite the leading role of Moscow in the crisis, the Russians are uninterested in developments in the Middle Eastern country .

Moscow (AsiaNews ) - While he did not officially join the prayer vigil called by the Pope for peace in Syria, the Russian Orthodox Church is now joining the chorus of religious leaders from around the world to stop a possible military attack on Damascus. On the anniversary of 9/11 in the U.S., the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill sent a message to President Barack Obama, urging him to stop the military plans against the regime of Bashar al -Assad and denouncing the risks of even wider instability in the region.

In his message, published on the website of the Moscow Patriarchate , Kirill asked the White House chief to " lend your ear to the voices of religious leaders who unanimously oppose any military interference in the Syrian conflict and to make every effort for the soonest commencement of peace negotiations ." The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church said he was "deeply alarmed " by the Pentagon's plans to attack Syria and warned of the possible consequences : "Without a doubt , this will lead to further suffering for the Syrian people ," which is already living a "daily Golgotha" .

Echoing the statements of Russian diplomacy, the Patriarch said that " An external military intervention may result in the radical forces coming to power in Syria who will not be able and will not wish to ensure inter-confessional accord in the Syrian society ." In this case - he denounced , as was done in the past - the Christian population "will end up under the threat of total extermination or expulsion ."

 The Patriarch then invited hi reader to "seize the opportunity operable for a diplomatic solution ," referring to the Russian initiative to put all chemical weapons in Syria under international control. This plan will be discussed today, 12 September, in Geneva by the foreign ministers of Russia and America , Serghei Lavrov and John Kerry.

According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant , Moscow has already presented Washington a four-point plan which, according to rumors provides for Damascus adhering to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW ), a declaration by Syria on the location of their arsenals and their place of production , the entrance of Opac and chosen inspectors, in cooperation on how to destroy the weapons .

Despite the active role of their country in international efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict , the situation in Syria is of little interest to Russians , who for the most part do not take sides either with the regime or with the rebels. According to a recent poll by the independent Levada Center , only 8 % of Russians is following the developments of the situation in Syria , 52% know "a little " about it, while 39 % no nothing. 51% of respondents said they did not take sides with any of the parties in conflict. Most have a pragmatic approach or are simply indifferent to the position of the Kremlin over conflict : 34% of respondents believe that Moscow supports neither party, but is simply trying to take advantage of the situation . The same percentage of people respond that they have nothing to say. 21% has come out in favor of supporting Damascus and 11% would like to see Russia sided with the West.

 

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