France, Russia strike mutual low blows

France, Russia strike mutual low blows

France, Russia strike mutual low blows

‘Some comments from the West are indecent,’ Russian FM Lavrov says. AFP photo

Russia yesterday condemned as borderline “hysteria” the angry Western reaction to its veto of a U.N. resolution condemning Syria’s crackdown on protesters, as France reacted even further saying some countries that “refuse to assume their responsibilities” needed a “kick in the ass.”

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expressed frustration the West did not postpone the vote until after his trip Feb. 7 to Damascus where he will meet with President Bashar al-Assad. 

“Some comments from the West on the United Nations Security Council vote, I would say, are indecent and bordering on hysteria,” Lavrov told reporters in Moscow after a meeting with Bahraini counterpart Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa. “Such hysterical comments are aimed at suppressing what is actually happening and what has happened.

“It reminds me of the proverb ‘he who gets angry is rarely right,’” he added. Lavrov reaffirmed Russia’s position the resolution was wrong to blame Assad’s regime alone for the violence and said the text should have also taken aim at the opposition. 

Following Lavrov’s remarks, France’s outspoken Defense Minister Gerard Longuet went even further, saying “it is a disgrace for countries to refuse to assume their responsibilities.” He told Europe 1 radio, “Frankly, there are some political cultures that deserve a kick in the ass.” 

France to speak to Russia on Syria 

Despite the verbal accusations between the officials of France and Russia, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said yesterday he would speak with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev later in the day to discuss the situation in Syria, which he described as a “scandal.”

Sarkozy said on Feb. 4 Paris was consulting with Arab and European countries to create a Syrian contact group to find a solution to the crisis after Russia and China vetoed the U.N. resolution. “France and Germany will not abandon the Syrian people,” Sarkozy said after a French-German summit in Paris with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

“What’s happening is a scandal. We will not accept that the international community remains blocked,” he said, adding that French Prime Minister François Fillon would also speak to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. 

Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff.