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The West is seeking to maintain its global influence via the use of force and intervention in conflicts triggered by the Arab Spring, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, vowing to stop such efforts in Syria.
“Our partners often resort to unilateral actions, in violation of international law,” Putin said today in a speech to Russian ambassadors in Moscow. “This manifests itself in so- called humanitarian operations, the export of rocket-bomb democracy and interference in internal conflicts.”
Putin, who last year condemned the NATO-led air campaign that led to the ousting of Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi and the loss of billions of dollars of Russian contracts as a “crusade,” warned against a similar scenario in Syria.
Russia accuses the U.S. and its allies of having misused United Nations approval for military action to protect civilians in Libya and is locked in dispute with Western states over their demands for Russian ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to step down. Sixteen months of violence between Assad’s forces and rebels has killed more than 10,000 people, according to the UN.
Putin reiterated Russia’s position that the conflict in Syria should be solved via dialogue and not force.
“The tragic events in Libya are for all to see, we can’t allow this scenario to be repeated in other countries, such as Syria,” he said. “We need to do everything to force the conflicting sides to achieve peaceful political solutions to all disputed issues.”
World powers adopted a plan for a Syrian transition government on June 30, altering a draft agreement proposed by Annan after Russia objected to language that would have prohibited members of Assad’s inner circle from joining a transitional government.
More than 70 percent of Syria’s population is Sunni Muslim. Assad and much of the ruling elite are members of the Alawite community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Assad has blamed much of the fighting on foreigners and extremists and along with Russia has accused Qatar and Syria of arming the insurgents.
To contact the reporters on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at firstname.lastname@example.org; Henry Meyer in Moscow at email@example.com
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