Russia Frustrated With Assad (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gavriel Queenann 03/15/12)
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Russia´s foreign minister on Wednesday gave air to a rare moment of
pique with President Bashar al-Assad saying he has been slow to
implement reforms as affairs in Syria spiral out of control.
"Regrettably, he hasn´t always followed our advice in his
activities," Sergey Lavrov said. "He has approved useful laws
reviving the system and making it more pluralistic."
But it has been done after a long delay, and the proposals about
launching a dialogue also have been slow to come. Meanwhile, the
armed confrontation is expanding and its inertia may sweep and engulf
all, he added.
Observers say Lavrov´s comments to Russia´s parliament are likely to
herald a change in Moscow´s much-criticized policy towards Damascus –
but it was notable for its uncharacteristic frustration.
Moscow has protected Assad´s regime from UN sanctions over its year-
long bloody crackdown on a popular uprising that UN Human Rights
officials say has claimed at least 7,500 civilian lives.
Syria is Russia´s last ally in the Arab world dating back to the
Soviet era and provides Russia with its only year-round warm water
port outside of the Black Sea.
Moscow has billions of dollars in oil and weapons contracts tied to
Assad´s regime – and has adamantly refused to stop arms sales despite
emergent reports of war crimes by Syrian troops.
Lavrov said none of the weapons Russia currently is supplying to
Syria could be used against the protesters, and that the arms trade
is aimed at helping Syria fend off external threats.
Lavrov insisted that Moscow´s stance was rooted in respect for the
international law – Russia has long opposed military interventions –
not a desire to defend its client.
"We aren´t standing up for the regime or specific personalities, we
are defending the international law that demands that internal
conflicts are settled without foreign interference," Lavrov told the
Russia and the United States have been at loggerheads over Moscow´s
refusal to back sanctions against Assad´s regime.
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said
Assad "is going to go down, whether it´s a matter of days or a matter
"He can run around and use this horrific violence all he wants, but
it´s not going to change the fact that his country no longer supports
his leadership and certainly doesn´t support these tactics," she said.
The Obama administration opposes military intervention in Syria,
saying it could lead to a full blow civil war, but maintain sanctions
could hasten Assad´s ouster. (IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/15/12)
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