Monday, September 22, 2014


Russia

Lavrov: No Russia Talk Of Post-Assad Government

Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Kfr Suseh in Damascus on June 12.
Demonstrators protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Kfr Suseh in Damascus on June 12.
By RFE/RL
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says Russia has not been taking part in discussions with the United States or other countries about a political transformation in Syria that would involve President Bashar al-Assad leaving office.

Lavrov said on June 15 he "read somewhere" that the United States and Russia were discussing a post-Assad Syria.

"This is not true," Lavrov said, adding that Moscow does not "get involved in overthrowing regimes."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on June 15 that he believed Russia is anxious about who might take Assad's place if the president was ousted in the conflict against rebels.

Also on June 15, Russia offered a new denial of accusations that it has been selling attack helicopters to the Syrian regime to use in the deadly crackdown on opposition supporters.

In a statement on June 15, the Foreign Ministry said that "many years ago" Russia sold Syria such helicopters, but now Russia was engaged only in repairs of those helicopters.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this week alleged that Russia was supplying attack helicopters to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland on June 14 sought to clarify, saying helicopters had been repaired in Russia and were sent back to Syria.

Nuland said, however, that whether the Russian helicopters are new or have been refurbished, the Washington remains concerned the aircraft could be used to kill Syrian civilians.

Russia, a longtime Syrian regime ally and arms supplier, has called on both the regime and opposition to implement a United Nations-backed peace plan calling for a cease-fire by all sides.

UN: 'Spike' In Violence

In Syria, the head of United Nations monitors in the country says a spike in violence is hampering the monitors' ability to carry out their mission.
 
General Robert Mood said on June 15 that violence by both the government and rebel fighters had intensified over the past 10 days, and there were now "significant risks" to the UN observers.
 
Mood said neither side currently seemed willing to bring about a "peaceful transition" and end the 15-month-old conflict.
 
In another development, the New York-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Syrian government forces have used sexual violence to torture men, women, and children during the Syrian uprising.

HRW said it had interviewed several former detainees who described being sexually abused or witnessing such abuse in detention.

HRW said in a statement that abuse included "rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, electroshock and beatings to genitalia."

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East director, said "sexual violence in detention is one of many horrific weapons in the Syrian government's torture arsenal."

HRW said many assaults were in circumstances in which commanders knew or should have known the crimes were happening.

Some interviewees told HRW that victims did not want their families to know about the assault because of fear or shame.

In other news, the White House says President Barack Obama has spoken with King Abdullah of U.S. ally Saudi Arabia.

Officials gave no details about the conversation on June 14, but the talk comes amid heightened concerns over the conflict in Syria and the imminent expansion of sanctions against Iran over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia has been a leading supporter of the Syrian opposition to the Assad regime, and has backed providing foreign help to the rebels.

With reporting by Interfax, AFP, and Reuters
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bill Housden from: Misouri
June 15, 2012 08:47
Let's bomb Russia if it doesn't want to play nice.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 15, 2012 14:10
Yes, Bill, please, finally start bombing Russia already - before you went completely bankrupt. Make sure, though, you find it on the map of the world first :-)).
In Response

by: Anonymous
June 17, 2012 12:18
No need to bomb. Supply Chechens with portable radars, long range rockets, AT missiles, AA missiles, and problem will be solved in 10 years by itself. After all Chechens are willing to die for the sake of a fight.

by: Jack from: US
June 15, 2012 14:07
Russians should have offerred more weapons to Syrians so they could defend themselves better against US and Saudi Arabia-sponsored Wahhabi Sunni terrorists. US is the major sponsor of terrorism.

by: kafantaris from: USA
June 15, 2012 15:50
Why exactly do we expect Russia to act differently than it has on Syria? Can we not see that Syria is a microcosm of Russia? For decades a strong ruler has governed both countries -- effectively denying citizens a say so in their government. If Russia helps fix this in Syria, it might have to fix it next at home.
Why would Putin want to do that at when Syria has become a diversion at home where he needs to play up Russia's strength in the world? Better to stick with the old script and keep on raiding the offices of political opponents or drumming up bogus charges against businessmen.
Forget Russia then. When the ground begins to shake below your feet, you stick with your friends.
Though the steamroller of the Information Age is getting closer and closer to their nose, the Putins, the al-Assads and the Ayatollahs of this world are too drunk with power to get out of the way.
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
June 17, 2012 05:52
You are saying: "the Putins, the al-Assads and the Ayatollahs of this world are too drunk with power to get out of the way". Absolutely, Kafantaris! All those are about to perish and you know why? That's because Putins, al-Assads and Ahmadinejads were stupid enough to get into such wars as Afghanistan or Iraq: the wars they never had a chance of winning and the wars that have driven the sovereign debts of Russias, Syrias and Irans to more than 100 % of their respective GDPs.
And on the top of all this, such traditional allies of Russias, Syrias and Irans as Greece and Spain are about to go bankrupt - draging the nations of these countries into a financial debacle, like the one that the well-known Russian city of Detroit has just experienced.
Congratulations, Karatsaferis, you won again - you, the nation of undefeatable George W. Bush-like democratically elected intellectual giants :-)!

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