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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Syria sanctions ‘counterproductive’ - Moscow

RIA Novosti

14:20 13/12/2011 MOSCOW, December 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russia continues to oppose sanctions against Syria, which would be counterproductive, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, history shows that sanctions never work, with very rare exceptions and we are not ready to use them except as a last resort,” he said.

Western nations have accused the Syrian authorities of brutal treatment of protesters who have been rallying against the government and President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in nine months of unrest in Syria, UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay said.

The latest figure is 1,000 higher than the one announced 10 days ago. The toll includes civilians, army defectors and those executed for refusing to shoot civilians, but not soldiers or other security personnel killed by opposition forces, she said.

Pillay said the Syrian government's actions could constitute crimes against humanity and issued a fresh call for the council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.

Syria confirmed last Monday it would allow military and civilian observers into the country as part of an Arab League plan to end months of bloodshed there but attached a number of conditions, including the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by the League.

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