Russia warns against foreign intervention in Syria
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Friday against foreign intervention in Syria, calling on the Syrian opposition not to seek a repeat of the "Libya scenario".
"We are very worried that the process of reconciliation, the process of the start of dialogue ... is being slowed down by a desire of some participants to attract foreign forces to support their actions," Russian news agencies quoted Lavrov as saying.
Speaking on a visit to the central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, he warned against a repeat of the "Libya scenario", where a Western coalition is carrying out air strikes against regime targets in a campaign that is increasingly troubling Moscow.
In March, Russia chose to abstain from the UN Security Council resolution on Libya that essentially authorised military action to protect civilians in Libya.
But the Kremlin has lately accused the West of exceeding the UN mandate and getting entangled in a full-blown military operation in north Africa.
As the situation in Syria escalates, Moscow has clashed with the West at the United Nations over Damascus's deadly crackdown on opposition protests, blocking a proposed Security Council statement condemning the violence.
Speaking in an interview with Moskovskie Novosti newspaper published this week, Lavrov complained that the West abused Russia's willingness to cooperate on Libya.
He said that from now on Moscow would look at any attempts by the UN to authorise the use of force through a "huge magnifying glass."
Analysts also explain Russia's firm stance on Syria by a desire to preserve economic and political ties with a Soviet-era ally.
Observers say that while Libya is located on the periphery of the Arab world, Syria is right at the heart of the region and any escalating unrest is likely to send shockwaves across the entire Middle East.
Lavrov also said all the countries should be held accountable for their policies at the UN Security Council.
"In our opinion, in the opinion of countries such as Brazil, India, China and South Africa the answers given by the coalition to the questions asked cannot fully satisfy us so far," Lavrov was quoted as saying.
© 2011 AFP