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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow Sets Conditions on Peacekeeping Mission to Syria

RIA Novosti

14:23 13/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - An international peacekeeping mission to Syria requires approval from Damascus and an end to the ongoing violence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday.

The Arab League has ended its observer mission in Syria and asked the UN Security Council on Sunday to send a peacekeeping force to the country.

It also called on Arab nations to break diplomatic relations with Damascus to pressure it to put an end to the ongoing violence.

“The host country has first to approve a peacekeeping mission,” Lavrov said, adding that “a peacekeeping mission should first have peace that it will then keep.”

He also said Moscow was waiting for explanation of the Arab League’s initiative.

Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria that calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Thirteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favor of the resolution to help stop the violence in Syria.

The West has been trying to persuade Moscow to support a resolution effectively authorizing a military operation but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”

Russia, one of President al-Assad’s firm supporters during the uprising against his regime, has proposed its own draft, which the West criticized as being too soft.

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