Lavrov Accuses West of Blackmail: We Oppose Military Intervention, Calls for Toppling al-Assad Unrealistic

Russia on Monday accused Western powers of using blackmail to get its support for possible United Nations Security Council sanctions against the Syrian regime.

“To our great regret, we are witnessing elements of blackmail,” said Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
The Russian diplomat further said that “the West has told Russia to either back the measure or it will refuse to extend the mandate of the UN observer mission.”
“Calls for Russia to persuade President Bashar al-Assad to step down are unrealistic as there is a very significant part of the Syrian population behind him,” Lavrov said.

He further stressed that “there is no evidence that the defections are having impact on situation in Syria.”
In a press conference in Moscow, Lavrov said that violence should be stopped by all the Syrian sides.”We oppose any tendencies aimed at toppling the Syrian state and refuse extortion and paving the way for military intervention in Syria.” He also stressed that Moscow’s foreign policy is “firm and based on the international legitimacy and laws,” adding that the participants in the Geneva meeting started to distort the results of this meeting.

Minister Lavrov said that some international sides are asking Syria’s leadership to stop violence and at the same time, they are not practicing any influence on the Syrian opposition that is seeking power.
He stressed that Moscow agrees on any decision made by the Syrian people regarding their future, adding that “After Syria agreed on Annan’s plan, we started to hear strange words on its failure and an escalation of violence on the ground, and we have documented that in the Geneva statement.”

“After the final approval of President al-Assad on the appointment of an envoy for negotiations, our partners began to put conditions, demanding the use of Chapter VII at the UN Security Council,” he stated.
“We should implement Annan’s plan. Our international partners should practice influence on the armed groups to take constructive procedures. Moscow will not allow a UN Security Council’s resolution under Chapter VII,” Lavrov said.

He warned against great risks in destabilizing the whole region, including the Gulf States, adding that “We don’t want the Gulf states to be destabilized. It is legal for us to express concern over the human rights issue in Saudi Arabia.”

Source: Al Moqawama

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