Russia warns West against encouraging Mideast revolt

15th February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday warned the West it was "counter-productive" to encourage the spread of revolutions in the Middle East after fresh protests convulsed the Arab world.

Asked whether he thought the United States had been encouraging the uprisings, Lavrov called for any tensions to be resolved through peaceful agreement and warned against imposing democracy.

His comments, after talks with his British counterpart William Hague in London, came after popular uprisings toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia and protests spread to other countries in the region.

"I think that we need to encourage all parties to agree between each other," said Lavrov during a joint press conference with Hague.

"I think that it is counter-productive to impose democracy of a specific pattern.

"We have had one revolution in Russia and we don't believe that we need to call for others," he added.

Lavrov's remarks appeared directed at US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who on Monday praised protesters who took to the streets of Tehran, saying she wished them "the same opportunity that they saw their Egyptian counterparts seize."

Speaking at Monday's press conference, Hague blasted Iran for "advocating the right to protest in Egypt" while denying that same right to its own citizens.

"There's a shameful hypocrisy here in the case of Iranian authorities," he said.

© 2011 AFP

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