News24

Russia gets blunt with Annan over Syria

2012-03-10 14:17

Moscow - Russia on Saturday said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made clear to the UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan that Moscow opposed "crude interference" from outside in Syrian internal affairs.

"A particular emphasis was placed on the inadmissibility of trampling on international legal norms, including through crude interference in Syria's internal affairs," the foreign ministry said after a meeting earlier between Lavrov and Annan in Cairo.

The meeting appeared to have taken place in Cairo before Annan headed to Syria for a meeting with President Bashar Assad in Damascus and as Lavrov prepared to meet Arab foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital.

The foreign ministry statement said that in the meeting Lavrov confirmed Russian support of Annan's mission and expressed hope "it would be successfully realised in line with the mandate he has been given".

Russia under pressure

It said that Lavrov explained Russia's position on the crisis to Annan, saying it was based on seeking an "immediate end to violence in that country and a long term solution to a civil conflict through a wide national dialogue".

The ministry said Annan had said he was ready for "active co-operation" with Russia in solving the Syrian crisis.

Russia and its diplomatic ally China infuriated the West by vetoing in February a UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime for the bloodshed in Syria and has shown little sign of shifting its policy since.

But Moscow is now coming under huge pressure from the West and Arab states led by Saudi Arabia to start exerting pressure on Assad's regime and support sanctions over the bloody crackdown.

In the latest sign of Russia's defiance, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Moscow opposed an "unbalanced" new Washington-backed UN draft resolution because it failed to call for a simultaneous halt in violence by the government and rebels.

Comments
  • Anthony - 2012-03-10 14:47

    Talking about "unbalanced" What is "unbalanced" , is that "113" of the "115" members of the UN Security Counsel, vote YES, and than ONLY "2" vote NO, and the motion does NOT get adopted !!! THAT IS CRAZY AND UNBALANCED !!!!

      Gerhard - 2012-03-10 16:11

      That's why it's called a VETO, not a majority vote.

      Anthony - 2012-03-11 05:29

      It is not at issue, what it is called' IT IS UNBALANCED AND CRAZY !!!

      Fred - 2012-03-11 08:35

      Patrick, international affairs are usually not childish tit-for-tat games that call for score-cards to be kept. They're usually based on values and principles.

      Anthony - 2012-03-11 09:16

      Patrick, Sure, if 113 of the 115 members voted YES, and the USA and one other member voted NO, and the motion would not be accepted, it would also be UNBLANCED AND CRAZY!!!!!

  • spartanx93 - 2012-03-10 15:11

    Then lead the way Russia. Don't sit in Moscow shouting the odds and not doing anything! You about as pathetic as the ANC during the Libya crisis.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 17:01

      I guess the engagement of their Foreign Minister in Damascus doesn't count Spartan. The question is : Where is billary and her cohorts, they refuse any diplomatic engagement? The western foreign ministers just mouth derogatory names at Assad and nothing else, all of which they do from New York.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 18:03

      More heartless lies from you Michael. Assad has been engaged multi-laterally from all sides since he started killing Syrians more than eleven months ago. Why should there even be the need for such engagement? Why does Assad need to be told that killing, detaining, torturing and raping Syrians to hold on to power after 48 years of unelected rule is wrong? For you, this need is normal, even the focus of your attention. Weird and abnormal.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 18:26

      Ah Fred every time you go to the keyboard you get more and more high blood pressure, calm down son and begin to reason with yourself. Apply a bit of that amateur psychology that you attempt to use towards others. The only "engagement" coming from the west was started with economic sanctions (which were applied very early back in April/May 2011), followed by threats and "pressure" (every day we are told the "pressure" has been "increased"), followed by the attempted Security Council resolution. Now, all these efforts have been in vain, if they had been successful we would not be addressing this subject any longer. Put simply, none of the efforts recognized the reality on the ground. Alternatively, the plans to depose Assad quickly and with relatively few civilian casualties were poorly devised. The more the situation is militarized, the more casualties will there be. It is really a pity that this Annan mission was delayed so long, but I put that down to the side show that was created at the UN. The side of the rebellion is divided into about 6-7 factions, including both political movements and military organizations. There is no sign of these accepting to work with each other, making Annan's task even more daunting.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 18:42

      Your usual off-the-point analysis Michael. You skirt around the main issue. Why should there even be the need for diplomatic engagement? Why does Assad need to be told that killing, detaining, torturing and raping Syrians to hold on to power after 48 years of unelected rule is wrong? How far did diplomatic engagement get with the Apartheid regime, that was similarly brutal? YOUR efforts fail to recognize the reality on the ground. This much is patently clear. And while you ply your dry analysis of diplomacy efforts and anti-West OCD lies, Syrian civilians and families are being butchered in their homes.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:29

      Very much on the point, but you are so blinded by hate and emotion you can no longer read or absorb another persons point of view. And apartheid eventually did end at the negotiating table and not with a cataclysmic blood letting. Do you remember the months of negotiation in Kempton Park? Seems not!! Don't pretend to have the moral high ground Freddie, you no longer have any ground or anything worthwhile to contribute to the discussion.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:33

      So its worked Fred!! Peace in the land , Assad out!!! Like hell it has! Hey the more idiotically angry you get the higher the number of years like your blood pressure 48 today, 45 yesterday! (Actually 42) The need for engagement is : "To save lives". Get it?

      Fred - 2012-03-10 19:41

      Why should there even be the need for diplomatic engagement? Why does Assad need to be told that killing, detaining, torturing and raping Syrians to hold on to power after 48 years of unelected rule is wrong? What are his true intentions? Have you read the new constitution he's drafted himself?

      Fred - 2012-03-11 16:16

      Imagine if the Apartheid regime had drafted our new constitution, and in it was stated they would remain in power for another fourteen years. This is what Assad has done, and is aiming for.

  • david.lebethe - 2012-03-10 15:39

    Sounds like Chirac warning Mbeki not to interfere in internal politics of Ivory Coast and when in fact, it France that was deeply involved in that country's internal affairs including, having to forc efully depose the sitting President at the time.

      Psalm - 2012-03-10 16:01

      @ David Lebethe With all due respect, David, your analogy makes no sense and bears zero similarities to the Syrian crisis

      Fred - 2012-03-10 18:03

      With all due respect Psalm, your analysis is plain wrong, delusional and filled with OCD lies.

      Garth - 2012-03-11 09:57

      And what does all this have to do with the price of eggs in Moscow in spring? Huh, huh?

  • Fred - 2012-03-10 18:08

    www.pbs.org/newshour [click on Recent Programs and Thursday's show]. There's an interview with a young Syrian who's come out of Homs, and a so-called Libyan Rebel.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 18:27

      Many Apartheid sympathizers were VERY anti-West and anti-Western media. Muedes/Gollum, why are you focusing on this dark end of the spectrum and taking it as the higher truth?

      Fred - 2012-03-10 19:07

      Definitely the dark side of the spectrum. But of course you can't see it. Could Gollum see his darkness?

      Fred - 2012-03-10 19:42

      Through your twisted OCD lenses, yes

  • Fred - 2012-03-10 18:20

    It is not surprising that the neo-Soviet Russian regime, Putin and Lavrov, don't see and feel the true reality in Syria. They share similar violent, autocratic values, have no qualms in adjusting elections and the election process to serve their own interests. In addition, Russia has big financial interests in Syria. Not a word about this from the anti-West OCD liars (Michael, Patrick, Fidel, Psalm, and a few others).

  • Jaba - 2012-03-10 18:21

    May we see Assad end soon Amen! and with that the blood of the civilians will stop spilling - that would be great news to all sane people... bad news for Assad Psalm & Michael

      Michael - 2012-03-10 18:55

      You see Jaba this is where you go wrong, and where your "bad news" assumption is outrageous and dim. I have only one interest which is to see the Syrian crisis resolved in a way that minimizes bloodshed. I have many dear friends in that country and the thought of them coming to further harm is very frightening to me. That is why I am prepared to try to urge some thinking outside of the bubble. But typically, any divergent thought brands one as the enemy, as a sell out. Ironically, this is the very value system of totalitarianism that I am sure you and your buddies Fred Anthony and co so abhor. Therefor, I am prepared to urge a return to negotiation to the very last, until every last hope is exhausted, in which case God help all Syrians and indeed all middle easterners. The killing still to come will be most terrible.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:13

      Also Jaba, it is said that "hope is not a strategy". Unfortunately many strategic mistakes have been made in the efforts to obtain political change in Syria. In the past few years, the west had adopted the strategy to engage with the Assad regime. A lot of bilateral aid initiatives were put in place, and the strategy was obviously to cosy up to him and persuade the required change. Suddenly with the Arab Spring , this was turned round, aid projects cancelled and sanctions imposed. The west and the opposition misread the durability of the Baath party to hold onto power. And 42 years of Assad rule is a long time for the regime to prepare. The next mistake was to leave Russia and China out of the equation. Was it not obvious that those two countries both had long standing geo-political interest in Syria, and would not walk away from those? The next mistake was to take on the army fighting from the city centers. This has maximized civilian casualties and cynical people would wonder if this was deliberate. I believe we now have a virtual stalemate and all that can happen unless the arms stand down, will be further death and destruction.

      Anthony - 2012-03-10 19:19

      @Michael, That is just not true what you say. At the height of the Libyan crisis, many said, remove this gaddafi, and the killing will stop. Within 24 hours after this terrorist was gone, 95 % of the killing stopped. There is ONLY one way forward with syria, REMOVE THIS BUTCHER !!

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:37

      Given the reality on the ground Anthony , pray tell us: How? When ? Kindly factor in all the realities on the ground when preparing your answer Anthony. Please do not repeat the mistakes already made, or you will just add a few thousand more to the death tally.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:41

      Oh and Anthony please realise that we are not dealing with the Gaddafi clown here, nor the senile Mubarak. Also the regime has chemical weapons, and some big friends, unlike Gaddafi. And also it has the army working on its side , unlike Mubarak where the army stood down.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 19:44

      Michael, you keep dancing around the essence of the situation: you're dealing with a brutal cold-blooded killer

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:47

      What's not true Anthony? Is the current brilliant strategy working? Did Assad go in 24 hours? Almost twelve months and what result? (7500- 9000 dead)

      Michael - 2012-03-10 19:56

      I have been saying this to you Fred and Anthony for many months, way back when the scorecard was at 3000 (already a tragedy at that stage) but you continue to beat the same drum. The end result going your way will be maybe be a successful removal of the regime, but at a huge, huge cost in life. It is not relevant who is to blame or for that matter, labeling someone the butcher. What is needed is some thought on how it can be prevented.

      Anthony - 2012-03-10 19:56

      You must read properly Michael I said, after 24 hours after this terrorist ( gaddafi ) was gone, 95 % of the killing stopped.!!! The same will happen after this BUTCHER is gone!!!

      Fred - 2012-03-10 20:19

      Michael I don't doubt your sincere desire for peace. I do doubt your perspective which is littered with anti-West rhetoric to the point of being an OCD. I also doubt your understanding of who Assad is, what he is doing, and what his true intentions are. There are people, not quite human, who actually are cold-blooded. Assad, IMO, is one of them. There is no negotiating with them. What is needed is a collective looking him in the eye and saying no, or else. This is the language they understand most. Unfortunately Putin and the isolated Chinese regime have similar cold-blooded values.

      Fred - 2012-03-10 20:38

      Michael I don't doubt your sincere desire for peace. I do doubt your perspective which is littered with anti-West rhetoric to the point of being an OCD. I also doubt your understanding of who Assad is, what he is doing, and what his true intentions are. There are people, not quite human, who actually are cold-blooded. Assad, IMO, is one of them. There is no negotiating with them. What is needed is a collective looking at Assad in the eye and saying no, or else. This is the language he and they understand most. Unfortunately Putin and the isolated Chinese regime have similar cold-blooded values.

      Michael - 2012-03-10 22:08

      Call him a butcher a thousand times, name him what you like, stare him in the eye. That changes nothing. The only strategy (if you understand the concept of strategy) left for you is total confrontation ( i.e.full scale war). The Syrian people will loose hugely in that outcome. You have shut the escape hatch, the bolt hole whatever for Assad, by declaring him a war criminal etc etc, leaving him no alternative but to fight to the end. He is not going to step down under such circumstances. All you want is the satisfaction of seeing him end like Gaddafi ,with no understanding of what that will cost in lives. Only simpletons would advocate air strikes etc in Syria, in Libya airstrikes were able to get a lot of Gaddafi's equipment running in the desert or while it was still in warehouses. Syrian army is way more sophisticated. I'll add that to my list of strategic errors made: Underestimating your enemy, which has definitely happened in this case.

      Fred - 2012-03-11 00:10

      There needs to be united stand that says no, or else. There isn't. Russia and China, with your support, has given him the space to continue, literally given him a license to kill. Not once have I said Syria must be invaded. It must start with a united stand. This would make it very difficult for hymn to continue. And that stand must continue right to the end. If he then chooses to kill, as Gaddafi did, military or other intervention must happen next.

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