Russia accuses West of blackmail on Syria

2012-07-16 14:01

Moscow - Russia on Monday accused the West of effectively trying to use blackmail to secure a new UN Security Council resolution that would authorise the use of force in Syria.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's comments came ahead of a meeting with Kofi Annan, the United Nations and Arab League envoy for Syria whose plan for halting the fighting is weakening amid escalating violence.

The council is debating a new resolution on Syria, spurred by the 20 July expiration of the mandate for the UN observer force there and the failure of the Annan plan.

Russia and Britain have circulated rival texts. The Western-backed British draft threatens non-military sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's government if it doesn't withdraw troops and heavy weapons from population centres within 10 days.

The proposed resolution is under the UN Charter's Chapter 7, which can be enforced militarily.

Russia opposes any resolution that can be enforced militarily.

17 000 killed

"To our great regret, there are elements of blackmail," Lavrov said at a news conference. "We are being told that if you do not agree to passing the resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, then we shall refuse to extend the mandate of the monitoring mission."

"We consider it to be an absolutely counterproductive and dangerous approach, since it is unacceptable to use monitors as bargaining chips," he said.

Throughout the 16-month Syrian crisis, in which activists say about 17 000 people have been killed in fighting between Assad's forces and opposition groupings, Russia has adamantly opposed international military intervention, fearing a repeat of the type of international action that helped drive Libya's Muammar Gaddafi out of power.

That position has put Moscow under intense criticism. Russia has rejected the criticism by saying it does not overtly support Assad, Russia's longtime ally, and by strongly backing Annan's plan.

Russia says any change of power in Syria must be achieved through negotiation, but the Syrian opposition has repeatedly said no negotiations with the Assad regime are possible unless he first leaves power.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow's position on Monday, saying it was unrealistic to try to persuade Assad to resign.


"He won't leave, not because we are defending him, but simply because a very significant part of the population in Syria stands behind him," he said.

Comments by Annan last week indicated he favours the British resolution draft and it was unclear if he would have any significant leverage to exert on Russia during his two-day trip to Moscow, which also includes a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.

Lavrov said he would not characterise the situation as a stalemate, but expressed dismay with the continuing fighting.

"What is happening in Syria is horrible," he said.

Meanwhile Reuters reported on Monday that Morocco said it had asked the Syrian ambassador to leave the North African country and declared him persona non grata, calling for a transition to democracy that would meet the Syrian people's aspirations for freedom.

Ambassador expelled

The expulsion followed the defection last week of Syria's ambassador to Iraq and the flight the week before of a prominent general once close to Assad - developments that Western officials said showed that Assad was losing his grip on power as the rebellion against him drags on.

Earlier on Monday, rumours had circulated that the ambassador to Rabat, Nabih Ismail, had also defected to the rebel side. A Syrian embassy official denied this but had no further comment.

Morocco recalled its own ambassador to Damascus in November 2011 and Monday's decision was the latest in a series of diplomatic expulsions that has seen Damascus increasingly isolated as anti-Assad rebels gain strength.

In May, the United States, France, Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Bulgaria and Switzerland all kicked out Syrian diplomats in response to a massacre of 108 people in the town of Houla in May. Japan followed suit.

Morocco's North African neighbours Tunisia and Libya, which saw their own dictators swept away in last year's Arab Spring uprisings, expelled Syrian diplomats as far back as February.

  • Gavin - 2012-07-16 14:21

    Russia would rather the world sit idle while the people of Syria are murdered wholesale. The current leader of Russia isn't a saint either, he'd have no qualms about murdering his own people to stay in power. I think he looks in the mirror and see his Syrian counterpart there and then just smiles...

      Greg - 2012-07-16 16:09

      You have no idea what the hell you are talking about. Putin is the only president that is NOT a puppet. He doesnt answer to Banks and corporate interest.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 16:18

      ""He doesnt answer to Banks and corporate interest"" He actually answers to NOBODY , One wonders why the heck they hold elections in Russia !!!!!

      Greg - 2012-07-16 16:31

      Putin won the recent elections by a landslide. 53% of the population were in favour of him, so what you said holds no grounds. Sad thing is people will actually believe you. Do you think Zuma makes the decisions? Do you think Obama makes the decisions? Pffft. They are both bought and paid for, serving the interest of corporations and big businesses. This is a fact, if you don't believe me, do some research, don't be ignorant and closed minded.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 17:01

      Greg, unfortunately you're supporting the worst kind of autocracy imaginable, and you don't know it. Even the international observer mission concluded that Putin had slanted the election process in his favour. Their conclusion: "It's not hard to hold free and fair elections. Putin didn't." Putin is arming the unelected dictator Bashar Assad who is literally slaughtering Syrians in their homes in a futile but brutal attempt to hold onto unelected power. And you're saying Putin is not "a puppet" of banks and companies. What does that have to do with anything. He's arming Assad who's slaughtering Syrians and their families in their homes BECAUSE THEY WANT TO VOTE.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-07-16 22:42

      @greg.meyer well said!!! If SA had the same leader with the same strong position our things would have been so much better then we have it now.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-07-17 08:09

      The corporations , the subtle and faceless bogeyman . The poor politicians don't stand a chance with their complete political control and standing armies.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 15:01

    AnthonyfromAfrica - Just posted Report comment ""but simply because a very significant part of the population in Syria stands behind him,"" Sergey Lavrov But, how do YOU know this ???? You can always on a weekend earn some extra money, by sitting in a caravan, doing "fortune telling " For FIFTY YEARS, the Syrian oppostion has 'asked' for elections, so to determine how much support these assads have, and how much support the opposition have. Dictators don't hold elections, for the simple reason, that they know they don't have much support.!!!

      ricky.hammer.92 - 2012-07-16 16:08

      Ummm - Bones, this assad's daddy pulled a coup de'ta about 50 years ago. Like N-Korea , they want to keep it in the family,forever.

      Greg - 2012-07-16 16:35

      Hey Ricky, I watched a interview with Assad and what you say is not true. Watch here if your interested. For everyone else to get a balanced view, Watch this

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-16 16:58

      this anthony is a western vampire idiot piss off you make us sick go and attend to your wife if you have one.your comments are sic sic

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 17:03

      Greg too holds an immature anti-West belief that unwittingly leads him to support the wholesale slaughter of civilians in their homes by unelected dictators trying to hold onto unelected power.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 17:26

      Greg augments an anti-West core belief with anti-banks and anti-corporate beliefs. They're all immature beliefs. Bones too distorts reality with an immature anti-West core belief.

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-07-17 08:15

      Assad want elections! hhahahahah ...... read the Baathist ideology ,it prescribes 1 party state without critisism . Lets have a election , you can vote Assad , Assad or Assad .

  • kafantaris2 - 2012-07-16 15:30

    Surprise, surprise. Russia again says that the U.N. should not boot out Assad from Syria. And again we are shocked, dismayed and disappointed. Why? Russia and China have their own reasons not to lift a finger in Syria -- but we are not waiting for them anymore. Rather, we will join other countries willing help to take care of the necessary business in Syria -- just as we had done in Libya. This time around, Russia and China had their chance to be part of the solution. Over and over, they have refused -- less they ultimately rattle their own house of cards. Fine. But their inaction has committed them to getting out of the way. They can do so and save face, or that they can continue to be obstreperous and lose more face. Either way, we are moving forward without them. As for Lavrov’s claim that the West is blackmailing Russia, most countries see it the other way around.

      Greg - 2012-07-16 16:19

      Again, western propaganda.. Kafantris... The west have provided the rebels with weapons. The UK have sponsored 500 000 Pounds for guns. A few months later they wonder why there are so many deaths? They did this on purpose so that they can point the finger at Syria. Ever heard of a false flag attack? The reports of the Syrian Military killing civilians is "unverified" meaning there is no evidence that they were responsible yet the Western Media pain this picture, to gain support for their invasion.. Russia and China need to step it up and hold their ground. They also need to make it clear to the world what's going on, because people blindly follow western media without doing there own $%#%# research.. It makes me so mad..

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-07-16 16:50

      @Greg - lol . Occum razor , wonderful tool .So who are the Assad forces fighting ? 5 CIA agents? Western media: ok what you going to believe , competative global news media looking for mistakes the others make and somehow the powers that be have pulled the wool over all their employees , accociated companies and public totaling many thousands of people or key-board online journalists and state run media in one party states.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 16:53

      Greg, So, you are saying; Kofi Annan, The UN observers on the ground, The few brave media men/women who are risking their lives daily, HRW, Amnesty International, Red Cross are all spewing Western propaganda ??????? and , just because it makes you mad.....we should all listen to "Greg.Meyer.543" ???

      Greg - 2012-07-16 16:55

      Again, just to make my point. This article is syndicated across thousands of Media outlets. Associated Press create the article, and then everyone else republishes it. Rupert Murdoch owns pretty much all the news agencies in USA. The articles are edited to promote a certain agenda, and it works!! Its called propaganda :) Question EVERYTHING or else your just a sheep that blindly follows. (no offence) "The AP is a not-for-profit cooperative owned by the 1,400 U.S. daily newspapers that are AP members. These members elect a board of directors that directs the cooperative."

      keith.murphy.9638 - 2012-07-16 17:01

      Russia and China are not idiots !!!!!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 17:05

      Again, Greg choses to hold an anti-West core belief that unwittingly leads him to support unelected dictators slaughtering civilians in their homes just because they want to vote for their leaders.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-07-16 17:08

      Assad will go the way of all dictators.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 17:09

      No, not idiots, just slimy bastards !!

      luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-07-16 22:25

      All respected news agencies get info from The Syrian Observatory for Human rights. Now don't be fooled by this grand name it's a one man organization based in Coventry , England. He supposedly gets calls from reliable sources thousands of kilometers away in Syria then news agencies contact him. Abdul Rahman his name

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 17:11

    This shows the level of consciousness of the Russian regime. They think in terms of blackmail and strong-arm tactics. The freer world has let this continue for far too long. Thousands of people have died and been tortured, maimed and raped. It is unconscionable. I hope this is finally coming to an end now.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-16 17:59

    Lavrov routinely eats these western foreign secretaries for breakfast. He has achieved admiration from the non-Western world.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 18:33

      Fidel, Admiration???? You just make that up, cause it suits your anti Western crap. What has Russia done ANYWHERE in the world, to earn admiration?? Have they ever created ONE JOB, anywhere in the world????? Have they ever fed ONE HUNGRY CHILD, anywhere in the world ????? The bit of admiration they had , is now gone, by them supporting a MASS MURDERER !!

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-07-16 18:40

      Fidel you are not a German Social Demopcrat espousing Real-Politik. You lie in bed with dictators and genocide.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-07-16 18:45

      Are you two idiots able to write anything coherent other than the same rubbish, thread after thread.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 19:10

      Fidel, And others have to read this kind of childish crap...; ""Lavrov routinely eats these western foreign secretaries for breakfast."" Please don't treat as as a bunch of children !!!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-16 19:14

      ""The non western world including Africa is tired of the West"" WHAT countries are you talking about ???????????? Iran...............and ??????????????????????????????????

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-16 22:25

      There's little value in discussing real issues with Fidel, Patrick, Luyolu and Bones. All discussion leads to one immature thing: the West is evil. They add almost zero to real discussions about human rights and the evolution of consciousness.

      luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-07-16 23:27

      No the problem is when we voice our opinions that are different to yours. You start swearing and say we talk nonsense. I just state my opinion based on the information that I read. When I see things that don't seem right I voice them and them main reason I'm saying the west is not behaving accordingly when it comes to the middle east is the hypocritical way that it dies things there why are some dictators treated better than orhers . You have the US side by side with unelected dictators in the form of Saudi Arabia and Qatar supporting \rebels\ achieve democracy it just doesn't make sense to me. What do Saudi Arabia and Qatar know about democracy ? The second problem is the western media with all their might im dissapointed to read uncertified reports on Syria that come mainly from The Syrian Observatory for Human Right if this was an organization with proper staff I would consume the info the problem is when Rueters actually wrote an article telling us that it's a one man organization based in Coventry , England thousands of kilometers from Syria . How can you possibly get accurate info on Syria when you are sitting in England and running a spaza shop on the other hand ?

      luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-07-16 23:29

      Excuse me for the grammatical errors iPhone autocomplete guys

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-17 03:41

      Luyolo, So now we have to believe, that the info we get about Syria, is not reliable , because............... someone owns a spaza shop, somewhere in England!!!!!! This is rediculous, and brings the level of conspiracies to new heights !!! Don't fall in this silly trap of Fidel and that patrick, that anything Western is bad, cause you just loose any sense of reality. I cannot recall, anyone who is on the side of the Syrian people, to have claimed that they believe Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain have great governments. They most certainly are not, and change will also come there, sooner than later!! To get an understanding of what is happenning in Syria, firstly accept some basic facts; this assad's daddy ,Hafiz, came to power by force in 1970. These assad's are from a tiny minority tribe. It would be foolish to believe that in a country of 22 million, there would be no opposition to these dictators. especially as these assads, like any dictator ,can only survive ,through brutal force. Since the assads came to power there have been uprisings, to try to tppple these assads. The worst one being, the one in 1982 in Hama, which costs, according to robert Fisk, the lives of 20 000 Syrians. But besides this, thousands of opposition members have been executed by these assads. Syria, has without any doubt, at present the most oppresive regime in the world.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-17 04:07

      Luloyo, To get a sense of what is happening today in Syria, it won't be a bad idea to watch some execelent reports on CNN, the BBC, Al-Jazeera and especially SKY News. They have some amazing reporting, including from some very brave journalist, who many crawled under barbed wire to get into Syria. Without them, we would have to rely on the Syrian state....!!! And off course read the many articles on Syria, here on News 24. You think they are to biased, there are off course many alternative news sources, but to go to RT, you just end up with some silly conspiracy BS. But,surely the most reliable info is coming from UN observers on the ground, and from organisations like Amnesty International, or do they also run a spaza shop in England ???? EVERYBODY, is pointing at assad, for the worst human rights abuses anywhere in the world !!! Thr Red Cross, surely one of the most respected organisations in the world, calls this uprising, a CIVIL WAR. They don't talk about foreign fighters, or who supports whom. It is assad with his monstrous security forces against the peop;e !!! It is simple as that !!! By the way, I am so happy for you, that you got an iPhone!! But far more happy, that although I hardly agree with one word in your comment, you can do so without going to the gutter level of this patrick, and spew out all personal racism, hatrted and filth. Keep it up !!!

      luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-07-17 06:25

      I will give you a link and I hoPe you read it The Observatory is run from Coventry, England I read it on Reuters not frOm an unknown news agency .

      Luyolo - 2012-07-17 09:26

      Here is that link Anthony sorry its a clothes shop not a spaza shop

  • luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-07-16 22:01

    A Syrian uprising for democracy who look which countries are supporting the rebels by supplying arms and cash. Qatar and Saudi Arabia ( which is named after the Saud family ) . Now I would be cheering for but the only problem is that these supported of democracy arnt democratic themselves something is very fishy here. Why would undemocratic and unelected despots help Syrians achieve democracy ? And why arnt they help the Yemens and Bahrain.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-07-17 03:49

      The fishy thing is Luyolu's obsessive anti-West belief that blinds him to the eleven months of unarmed demonstrations that were met with brutal repression by Assad.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-07-16 22:54

    Respect to mr. Lavrov as he is the man for his job and is not scared to expose double faced western democracy. As for UN decision on Syria looks like news.24 team are a big butt-kisser and allow themselves to pervert officials' words any way they like to suit a big boss (dont know his name but wont be surprised to find him somewhere in Canada or Switzerland)

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-07-17 16:50

      Diana, Sorry, I admit, I am not even a fraction as smart as Fidel,and I really tried, I even read your comment 13 times, but I have only one question for you; " What the heck are you on about ???" At the same time, I must agree with you, a 'butt-kisser' could very well be a pervert!!

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