Russia slams 'counterproductive' Syria envoy expulsions
MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to Peru's Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo during their official talks in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday May 29, 2012. Lavrov on Tuesday claimed that some unspecified countries are trying to use the Houla massacre in Syria to push for war. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)Russia on Wednesday condemned the "counterproductive" expulsion of Syrian envoys from European and other capitals, saying it would damage diplomatic efforts to end the 14-month crisis.
"The expulsion of Syrian diplomats from leading Western states seems to us to be counterproductive," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
"After all, vital (diplomatic) channels that could be used to exchange opinions and put constructive pressure on the government of Syria... end up being closed." European nations as well as Canada and the United States have all expelled their Syrian envoys or charge d'affaires to protest last week's massacre in the town of Houla.
Moscow made clear on Wednesday that it had no intention of breaking ties with its most vital remaining Soviet-era ally in the Arab world.
Wednesday's statement said the expulsions showed that countries were "turning a deaf ear to Damascus" and its arguments over violence that observers believe has claimed some 13,000 lives.
"And this, in our opinion, does not help matters," the Russian statement said.
The Russian foreign ministry engages regularly with the Damascus envoy to Moscow and issues frequent statements about his reports on the situation on the ground.