Russia: West ’instigating’ Syrian opposition
MOSCOW - The Associated PressRussia accused Western powers yesterday of “openly instigating” Syrian opposition groups to take up arms in their fight to unseat President Bashar al-Assad.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the West “has done nothing” to urge the Syrian opposition to start a dialogue with the government. “Instead, they are engaged in openly instigating it to continue their armed struggle,” it said in a statement.
It claimed that the Western approach to the Syrian civil is “hypocritical” and is not helping to resolve the conflict that has killed an estimated 19,000 people. Russia and China, both veto-wielding U.N. Security Council members, have blocked proposals to call on Assad to step down.
Russia has said that its opposition to sanctions against Syria is driven not by support for Assad himself, but by a respect for international law that forbids foreign military intervention in internal conflicts without U.N. Security Council authorization. Russia has called for talks between the Syrian regime and its foes. It staunchly opposes any plans that would demand Assad’s ouster, saying that only the Syrian people can decide the country’s fate.