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Russian PM slams ‘unacceptable’ recognition, support for rebels

(AFP) / 26 November 2012

MOSCOW - Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev slammed as “unacceptable” the recognition and support by France and other states of the Syrian opposition battling the government of President Bashar Al Assad.

In a wide-ranging interview with Agence France-Presse and Le Figaro ahead of a visit to Paris, Medvedev also spoke of the EU economic crisis as a “serious threat” and did not rule out returning to the Kremlin in the future.

Britain and France have joined Turkey and Arabian Peninsula states in recognising a newly formed opposition bloc as the sole representative of the Syrian people. Paris has also suggested arming the opposition fighters.

“From the point of view of international law, this is absolutely unacceptable,” Medvedev said in the interview at his Gorki residence.

“A desire to change the political regime of another state by recognising a political force as the sole carrier of sovereignty seems to me to be not completely civilised,” he added.

France was the first Western state to recognise the newly-formed Syrian National Coalition and was swiftly joined by Britain, Italy and the European Union.

Paris has also raised the idea of excluding defensive weapons for the rebels from the current blanket EU embargo on Syria.

“Let the Syrian people decide the personal fate of Assad and his government,” said Medvedev. It is preferable if they (the opposition forces) came to power legally and not because of deliveries of arms from other countries,” he said.

Medvedev said that Moscow was nervously watching the economic crisis in the European Union, which he said represented a serious threat to Russia’s own economic performance.

“We see this as a very serious threat,” said Medvedev. “We are to a large extent dependent on what happens in the economies of the EU.”

Medvedev noted that EU states account for half of Russia’s trade volume while Moscow holds some 41 per cent of its foreign currency reserves in euros.

“We are watching nervously. Sometimes it seems our European partners lack the energy and will to take decisions. And there is that endless dispute of what is better, fiscal consolidation or development,” said Medvedev.

“It seems our European partners are moving towards an agreement but the main thing is that it is not late,” he added.

 
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