RUSSIA'S SYRIA POLICY COULD LEAD TO CIVIL WAR, WARNS CLINTON

RTT News
May 31, 2012 Thursday
United States

(RTTNews) - Russia's Policy Risks Outbreak Of Civil War In Syria,
Warns Clinton

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Thursday that Russia's
continued refusal to back international action against the Syrian
regime headed by President Bashar al-Assad could lead to a civil war
in the unrest-hit Middle East nation.

Clinton made the remarks while addressing students in the Danish
capital of Copenhagen. She is currently on a whirlwind seven-day
European tour that covers seven nations, including Denmark, Norway,
Sweden, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.

The Russians "are telling me they don't want to see a civil war. I
have been telling them their policy is going to help contribute to
a civil war," Clinton said. "The Syrians are not going to listen to us.

They will listen maybe to the Russians, so we have to keep pushing
them."

Noting that the Russians are "vociferous in their claim that they
are providing a stabilizing influence" in Syria, Clinton said:
"I reject that. I think they are propping up the regime at a time
when we should be working on a political transition."

Earlier in the week, Russia had indicated that it will oppose any
proposal tabled at the the UN Security Council (UNSC) by western
nations seeking authorization for military intervention in Syria. The
Russian stand comes amidst an international outrage triggered by last
week's massacre of more than 100 civilians in the Syrian town of Houla.

"We have always said that we are categorically against any outside
interference in the Syrian conflict because this will only exacerbate
the situation for both Syria and the region as a whole," Russian
Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov was quoted as saying by
Interfax news agency on Wednesday.

Separately, China also voiced opposition on Wednesday to military
intervention or forced "regime change" in Syria. Earlier, China and
Russia had vetoed a UN resolution endorsing an Arab League plan for
Syria at the UN Security Council (UNSC) on February 4. Incidentally,
the two nations had also jointly vetoed a Western resolution condemning
repression in Syria in October.

The developments follow last week's massacre of some 108 people,
mostly women and children, in the Syrian village of Houla. The Assad
government blames Islamist militants for the massacre, but the UN
human rights office said Tuesday that Syrian security forces were
clearly involved in the Houla killings.

In response to the Houla massacre, many western nations, including
the United States, France, Australia, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain,
Canada, Netherlands and Switzerland, have expelled Syrian envoys to
their capitals. Turkey followed suit on Wednesday.

Although the UN estimates more than 9,000 people have been killed in
Syria since the unrest against President Assad began in March 2011,
the opposition claims the figure is actually closer to 11,000.



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress