Russia firm on defense of Syria, slams West
MOSCOWRussia on Feb. 10 accused the West of being an “accomplice” to the violence in Syria and said the country’s opposition bore full responsibility for ending the ongoing violence. Moscow also showed its intention that it will again use its veto power at the United Nations to block any resolution aimed at ousting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said al-Assad’s promise to stage a new constitutional referendum meant that it was now up to the armed resistance movement to take the next step.
“The Syrian leadership has assured us of its readiness to quickly hold a referendum on a new constitution and move toward elections,” Ryabkov told the ITAR-TASS news agency. “This means that the opposition bears full responsibility for improving the situation and finding a way to stop the bloodshed. “Western states that push the Syrian opposition into uncompromising measures, which arm them and give them advice and instructions, are accomplices in the process of inflaming the crisis,” he added.
‘We would again call them back to reality’
Ryabkov also said Moscow would thwart any attempts by the West and major Arab powers to oust al-Assad using the U.N. “If our foreign partners don’t understand that, we will have to use strong means again and again to call them back to reality,” he was quoted as saying by the ITAR-Tass news agency.
On Feb. 4, Russia and China used their veto at the U.N. Security Council for a second time in four months to block a resolution urging al-Assad to step down over his crackdown on an 11-month-old uprising. Meanwhile, Russian lawmakers voiced strong support Feb. 10 for shielding al-Assad’s regime from international sanctions. Lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament debated a statement on the situation in Syria that warned against foreign military intervention.