Russia’s Lukashevich slams US stance on Syria

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Russia’s Lukashevich slams US stance on Syria
Published 19-10-2012, 06:58
Speaking at a news briefing in Moscow on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich harshly criticized the US’ stance on the Syrian crisis and commented on the US’ alleged decision to deliver mobile anti-aircraft systems to Syrian rebels.

This will mean arming the terrorists, Lukashevich pointed out.

The Thursday news briefing came as Russia and Western countries continue to exchange barbs over Syria. Moscow proceeds from the assumption that the Syrian crisis should be resolved by peaceful means. Russia is especially concerned about an alleged decision by Washington to supply the mobile air defense systems seized in Libya to Syrian rebels. The information is yet to be confirmed, Lukashevich said, warning Washington against actions that may lead to the escalation of violence in Syria. As for the above-mentioned air defense systems, they may be seized by terrorists, Lukashevich warned.

"As such, this information comes against the backdrop of the latest events in Syria, where two army helicopters were shot down earlier this week, Lukashenko said, singling out Syrian rebels’ threats to down civilian planes in Syria’s airspace. This is why this information deserves close attention because Syrian militants getting the mobile anti-aircraft systems would, in fact, mean arming international terrorists," Lukashevich added.

He lashed out at a spate of statements by representatives of the White House who Lukashevich said prefer to turn a deaf ear to Moscow’s position on the matter. He warned Washington against slapping sanctions on Syria, something that may affect the humanitarian situation there. The US should use its influence on the Syrian opposition in order to prod the conflicting parties to sit at the negotiating table, Lukashevich said.

Separately, he touched upon a recent incident with the Syrian Air plane that was forced to land in Turkey on October 10 over suspicions that it was carrying weapons. Turkey eventually permitted the plane to resume its flight after a nine-hour inspection of the aircraft that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said was carrying radar equipment on board. According to Lavrov, transportation of such equipment complies with international law, something that Lukashevich said is echoed by Turkish authorities.

"Our ambassador in Ankara met twice with Turkish Foreign Ministry officials to discuss the topic, Lukashevich said. During the meetings, they expressed regret over the October 10 incident. The Turkish side does not in principle question the legitimacy of the cargo that was seized, but is unhappy with the transportation notification procedure. Our Turkish partners have already effectively retracted the initial allegations that there was ammunition on board."

Right now, a Russian company that sent the radar equipment to Syria is demanding the return of the cargo.

Commenting on attempts by Western countries to make the International Criminal Court deal with the situation in Syria, Lukashevich said that there are no legal grounds for it.

He added that Russia urges Western countries not to sabotage the peace plan on Syria, adopted in Geneva earlier this month. Additionally, Moscow pins hopes on the implementation of a peace mission by the UN-Arab League envoy Lahdar Brahimi, Lukashevich concluded.

Mamonov Roman

Voice of Russia

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