Russia warns G8 against pressure on Arab regimes

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Russia warned Wednesday that this week's Group of Eight summit should not be used as a platform for "instigating pressure and sanctions" against Arab regimes which are partners of Moscow.

Russia is likely to be a discordant voice at the G8 summit starting Thursday as it continues to oppose sanctions and the use of force against its Soviet-era ally Syria and other bilateral partners.

"With its strategic approach the G8 should not ... turn into a body conducting 'preliminary investigations' and instigating pressure and sanctions," the Kremlin said ahead of the summit in a statement.

"Russia will continue to maintain mutually beneficial cooperation with countries in the Middle East and North Africa which have found themselves in a difficult political, economic and humanitarian position," it added.

Moscow has urged against interference in what it considers to be the domestic affairs of sovereign nations while many Western countries have taken a harsh stance against Arab leaders accused of stifling popular reforms.

Russia has called for an immediate end to the international air campaign against Libya and said it would never support the use of force against its Soviet-era ally Syria.

© 2011 AFP

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