Moscow: Lashing out at West for its attempts of prodding Russia to agree on a fresh UN Security Council resolution over Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov complained of “elements of blackmail” being included in the western approach.
Ahead of UN-Arab League joint special envoy Kofi Annan`s second visit to Moscow, Lavrov told a press conference that West was trying to garner Russia’s consent over a resolution authorising the use of military force in Syria and that this approach was “absolutely counter-productive and dangerous.”
"To our deep regret, one can witness even the elements of blackmail.”
“we are being told that if you don`t agree to the adoption of the resolution (of the UN Security Council) on the basis of the Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, we will refuse to extend the mandate of the UN observer mission,” Lavrov said.
Ahead of Friday’s deadline, when the UN’s observer mission in Syria would come to an end, highlighting the failure of Annan’s plan, the council is trying hard to gather support over a new Syria resolution backing military action.
Russia has been against the use of military force in Syria, and reiterating its stance, Lavrov said that both sides involved in Syrian conflict must stop hostilities simultaneously to end the 16-month crisis in the country.
Russia also ridiculed Western attempts to get Russia to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying that it was an “unrealistic” pursuit.
"This is simply unrealistic... he (Assad) will not leave power. This is not because we are defending him, but because there is a very significant part of the Syrian population standing behind him," Lavrov said.
Lavrov’s comments ahead of Annan’s visit seem to be a dampener on the UN-Arab League envoy’s attempts to urge Russia to pressurise Assad to quit.
The 17-month long conflict has taken over 17,000 Syrian lives of s according to Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
With Agency Inputs