Russia criticises West on Syria

MOSCOW - Russia accused Western nations of undermining the chances for a peaceful resolution in Syria on Monday, saying the West was urging President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents not to seek compromise with the government.

By (Reuters)

Published: Mon 21 Nov 2011, 6:24 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:20 AM

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s remarks were the latest sign of support for Assad from Russia, which joined China last month in vetoing a Western-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution condemning his government’s eight-month crackdown on protests.

Lavrov reiterated Russia’s position that opponents of Assad share responsibility for the violence and should face concerted international pressure to enter talks with the government, Russian news agencies reported.

“Yes, it’s necessary to stop the violence, but these demands must be addressed both to the authorities and to armed groups that have mixed in with the Syrian opposition,” Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying.

“We see a situation in which the Arab League is calling for an end to violence and the start of talks, while absolutely contradictory calls are coming from Western capitals and the capitals of some regional countries,” he said.

Those nations, which Lavrov did not name, are “directly recommending that the opposition not enter dialogue with the Assad regime,” he said, according to Interfax. “This is like a political provocation on an international scale.”

Moscow has close ties to Syria, which has been a big buyer of Russian weapons and hosts a Russian naval maintenance facility on the Mediterranean, a rare outpost abroad for the Russian military.

Russia has called on Assad to implement promised reforms faster but says his resignation must not be a condition for dialogue in Syria and has accused Western nations of trying to set the stage for armed intervention.

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