Russia Continues to Oppose Sanctions on Syria
Russia reaffirmed its strong opposition to any sanctions against Syria, its long-standing ally and arms partner. Moscow on Wednesday asserted that any UN resolution that is passed on Syria must not include sanctions and the possibility of a military intervention as it happened in Libya last year.
The move comes at a time when the international community becomes more and more preoccupied with the development of the situation in the restive country, where, according to the UN estimates, some 5,400 people were killed over the passed 11 months of staunch confrontation between the regime and the citizens.
Last October, Russia has opposed a resolution put forward by the European states, and was accompanied in this endeavor by China, another ally of Assad’s regime. Russia said that it was not going to allow an intervention the likes of the one in Libya, which led to the ouster and killing of former leader Muammar al-Qaddafi, but also cost Russia a great deal of money, since the leader in Tripoli was a very serious business partner in arms deals.
The opposition was harshly criticized by the United States and by the European countries, but Russia said it would accept a resolution on Syria as long as it does not speak of any sanctions against the state.
Sanctions were since then introduced by the Arab League and Turkey, but all were opposed by Russia, which has closed recently a $550 million of warplanes with the regime in Damascus.
Russia has also opposed the sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and the embargo Europe has decreed on the country that is under suspicion of producing nuclear weapons.
At the same time, Russia reminds its Western partners that it has proposed a resolution of its own, which stipulates the end of conflict in Syria by total ceasefire on both sides, condemning the excessive use of force against the protesters.
Western countries believe that the Russian proposition does not answer their demand to condemn the regime in Damascus for crimes committed against its own citizens during crackdown.
Speaking after a meeting with Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said he believed his country’s resolution to be well balanced, unlike the resolutions of the Western countries, which only condemn the government in power.
Lavrov proposed that the Syrian government and the opposition begin talks immediately, and suggested that these talks be hosted by the Arab League, Turkey or even Russia.
The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate in spite of the Arab League mission that has supplemented its presence in the restive state. On Sunday the pan-Arab body demanded the Syrian president to step down and entrust power to a deputy, to sack the government and form a caretaker one, which would call snap presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Syrian officials rejected the proposition as a violation of sovereignty, and warned the Western countries not to attempt anything. In an interview a few months back, the president Bashar had warned that any intervention in his country would result in a steadfast response, which would trigger a political earthquake.
The opposition however consider it a form of expressing that the regime led by Bashar al-Assad has lost its legitimacy and is no longer a partner in any negotiations with the opposition.
The rumors about a possible intervention in Syria have intensified as the mission of the Arab League seems to be a failure, since 400 people have been killed right under the noses of the observers.
French foreign minister proposed a few months ago that a humanitarian corridor be created in Syria so that the people in need be assisted. The corridor would have been secured by NATO troops, probably Turkish.
The Turks proposed a few weeks ago that something be done in Syria, and even showed availability to step in. Turkey is very sensitive about Syria, which is a former colony of the Ottoman Empire. Last summer, Turkish PM spoke of Syria as of an “internal matter.”
The Qatari foreign minister is the last to have demanded an intervention against the Syrian regime in the form of a no-fly zone imposed on the air space, something which even the opposition demanded in Syria.11