Russia Wants Ceasefires, End of Arms Supplies to Syria
MOSCOW, February 11 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expects the Geneva-2 peace conference to put an end to illegal arms supplies to Syria, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
The conference in Switzerland on the war-torn Middle Eastern country should also help to permit delivery of humanitarian aid through "local ceasefires," Lavrov told a press conference in Moscow.
Russia is supplying arms to the embattled Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, but insists it does so legally. Meanwhile, Western and Arab countries have been accused of providing military equipment to the Syrian insurgency.
Russia has blocked three United Nations Security Council resolutions that could have imposed sanctions on Damascus, and has threatened to do it again this week.
A draft resolution currently under review at the council allows for sanctions against the government unless it stops obstructing delivery of humanitarian aid.
Lavrov described the draft as "far from reality" and said that Russia would not support it. He accused unspecified forces of trying to use humanitarian issues as a pretext for a military solution to the Syrian conflict.
Assad's forces and rebel groups agreed on a three-day ceasefire last week in the besieged city of Homs, citing humanitarian reasons. But the government troops have refused to allow adult men to leave along with women and children, saying that it could enable insurgents to flee the city.
Representatives of Assad and the Syrian opposition met for talks for the first time in the Swiss town of Montreux last month.
The negotiations, which have yielded no agreements so far, resumed in Geneva on Monday.
More than 7 million out of Syria's population of 22 million, by UN estimates, have been displaced by the ongoing civil conflict since 2011.
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