Russia slams West over 'double standards' in Syria
Russia on Saturday reiterated its hard stance over Syria after refusing to endorse a US call for an investigation into the bloodshed, accusing the West of "double standards and bias".
Issuing a carefully worded statement, the foreign ministry said its representative at a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva had "expressed deep concern over continuing confrontation in Syria which leads to human casualties."
He "called on the Syrian authorities to conduct an efficient investigation of these incidents," it said.
The foreign ministry added however that at the session "many countries including Russia cautioned against an outside interference in the situation in this country which may provoke fresh violence and lead to a civil war."
"It was noted that the focus on the events in Syria against the background of a critical situation in the entire region speaks of double standards, bias, and the selectiveness of the initiators of the session."
The foreign ministry also said opponents of the resolution stressed "the inadmissibility of the use of UN mechanism designed to encourage the adherence to human rights in all the countries to achieve momentary goals and interfere in countries' sovereign affairs."
Twenty-six countries voted for the resolution, while nine including Russia voted against. Russia and China also clashed with the United States in the UN Security Council in New York earlier this week, blocking formal condemnation of the violence.
At least 62 people were killed in clashes in Syria on Friday when tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets, activists have said, vowing more protests. The United States and Europe imposed sanctions on Damascus.
Analysts say Russia is refusing to cooperate with the West over the unrest in Syria as it does not want to wreck ties with a traditional ally and also feels let down by the Western military action in Libya.
Russia last month abstained rather than blocked the UN Security Council resolution on Libya, but later accused the West of exceeding the UN mandate.
© 2011 AFP