Russia ready to use veto on Syria resolution: Medvedev
President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday that Russia was ready to use its veto to block a Western-sponsored resolution on Syria at the United Nations as it could be used as cover for military action.
Speaking in an interview with the Financial Times whose full transcript was released by the Kremlin, Medvedev argued that March's UN Security Council vote on Libya had paved the way for a military operation.
"What I am not ready to support is a resolution (similar to the one) on Libya because it is my deep conviction that a good resolution has been turned into a piece of paper that is being used to provide cover for a meaningless military operation," he said.
"There will not be such a resolution. Russia will use its Security Council permanent member rights," he said, referring to Moscow's veto as one of the five permanent UN Security Council members.
"But other calls, declarations, including from the Security Council, towards Syria are possible."
Britain, France, Germany and Portugal have distributed a resolution condemning the Syrian military crackdown on the opposition. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron has said if any permanent member tries to veto it then "that should be on their conscience."
But Medvedev said: "Right now I am not sure that any resolution is needed because a resolution may say one thing but actions would be quite different. The resolution may say: 'We condemn the use of force in Syria' and after that planes will take off into the air.
"We will be told: 'Well, it says there that we condemn so we condemned, (and) dispatched a certain amount of bombers there.' I don't want it. In any case, I don't want to have it on my conscience," Medvedev said.
The Kremlin chief spoke in sympathetic terms about President Bashar al-Assad, whose rule has been rocked by protests demanding greater freedoms and democracy since March.
"Syria faces a very tough choice," he said. "As a person, I feel sorry for President Assad who is in a very difficult situation. As I see it, he wants political changes for his country, he wants reforms.
"But at the same time he is somewhat late with them, hence casualties which could have been avoided and which of course will largely be on the conscience of the authorities."
© 2011 AFP