Russia against UN condemnation of Syria: foreign minister

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia opposed the idea of a UN Security Council vote condemning Syria's crackdown on opposition protests.

"The Security Council and the international community have already gotten entangled in the Libyan situation," Lavrov told reporters in Oslo.

"As for examining the Syrian situation at the Security Council, we think the work should have as a goal to solve problems by political means and not to create the conditions for another armed conflict," he said, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.

The minister's comments come as France, Britain and the United States are considering pressing for a vote by the 15-member Security Council on a resolution that could embarrass Russia and China by forcing them into a veto.

The current draft, drawn up by France, Britain, Germany and Portugal, condemns the crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad's regime and warns the violence could constitute crimes against humanity.

Syria is Russia's closest ally in the Middle East. It has a naval base at Tartus in Syria.

Syrian anti-government protests erupted in March and more than 1,100 civilians, including dozens of children, have been killed in the ensuing security crackdown.

© 2011 AFP

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