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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian foreign minister warns against UN action in Syria

RIA Novosti

20:18 07/06/2011 OSLO, June 7 (RIA Novosti) - Ongoing conflicts in Syria and other countries in the region should be resolved by political means without UN Security Council involvement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

Media reports suggest that France, Britain, Germany and Portugal have prepared a draft resolution for the UN Security Council condemning violent attempts by Syrian President Bashar Assad to suppress protesters in the country and calling for Syrian cities to be opened to humanitarian organizations.

"They are trying to pass new resolutions," Lavrov said at a meeting in Oslo with his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Store. "This is not the UN Security Council's role... this contradicts the UN Security Council's functions."

Earlier on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said that the UN Security Council could pass a resolution regardless of a possible veto from Russia. He said the draft would be supported by at least 11 out of 15 organization members.

"We'll see what the Russians will do," Juppe said on his visit to Washington D.C. "If they veto, they will take their responsibility. Maybe if they see that there are 11 votes in favor of the resolution, they will change their mind. So there is a risk to take and we're ready to take it."

Last month Russia and China, both UN Security Council veto-wielding permanent members, said they would not back a possible resolution against the Syrian regime.

Lavrov said in early June that Russia is in favor of implementing reforms in Syria proposed recently by President Assad. He said all attempts to destabilize the country would result in catastrophic consequences for the whole region.

Human rights activists in Syria say at least 1,000 people have been killed in clashes between protesters and government troops which have been ongoing since mid-March. Official statistics say 120 soldiers and policemen have been killed by protesters.



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