Russia will not allow military intervention in Syria: FM

1st November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday his country would oppose a Libya-style military intervention against the Syrian regime which is battling months-long democracy protests.

"We have many questions... after the UN Security Council adopted the Libyan resolution," allowing military intervention to protect civilian lives, and "after the Libyan drama," he said in Abu Dhabi, speaking in English.

A month after the launch of an uprising against Moamer Kadhafi's regime, the UN Security Council passed a resolution approving "all necessary measures" to impose a no-fly zone and protect civilians in Libya.

"If it depends on us, I don't think we will allow anything of that sort to be repeated" in Syria, Lavrov said after a Gulf-Russian ministerial meeting, when asked if such measures could be taken against Syria.

Asked if Moscow will maintain its support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Russian foreign minister said: "We are not protecting any regime."

Assad, who is under mounting Arab and international pressure a bloody crackdown against pro-democracy protesters, told Russian television on Sunday he expected continued support from Moscow.

Assad's appeal came less than a month after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the Syrian leader for the first time to either accept political reform or bow to calls for his resignation.

Lavrov on Friday accused NATO of exceeding UN mandates that permitted its forces to enforce a no-fly zone over Libya and protect civilians.

Russia believes the no-fly zone and accompanying mandate to protect civilians were used by NATO to support one side in a civil war -- action that the United Nations never authorised.

China, along with Russia, vetoed a Western-drafted resolution at the UN Security Council on October 4 that would have threatened Assad's regime with targeted sanctions if it continued its campaign against protesters.

Last week activists urged the international community to impose a Libya-style no-fly zone on Syria

© 2011 AFP

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