Saturday Jul 07, 201202:02 AM GMT
Russia says no to no-fly zone over Syria
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov (file photo)
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov (file photo)
Sat Jul 7, 2012 1:57AM
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Russia has rejected a call to establish a Libya-like no-fly zone over Syria proposed by the United States and its allies.


"We repeatedly pointed out… the counter-productiveness of various unilateral steps… like proposals about the creation of… humanitarian corridors and safety zones," Xinhua quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying in Moscow on Friday.

"These ideas have not been supported by the international humanitarian organizations working in Syria. These dubious ideas are not needed," he added.

Gatilov made the remarks hours after the Western-led Friends of Syria group met in Paris and called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria.

During the meeting, which Russia and China boycotted, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused Moscow of “holding up progress” in efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria.

But Gatilov called Clinton’s remarks “inappropriate” and said that her statement contradicts the agreement reached by the major powers in Geneva the previous weekend.

"We have heard this numerous times before, but we are concerned that these types of remarks go against the final declaration of the Geneva meeting (on June 30), which was adopted with the participation of the US secretary of state," he stated.

Diplomats meeting in Geneva reached an agreement on a Syria-led transitional governing body that could include members of the current Syrian government and the opposition.

The foreign ministers of Russia, China, Britain, France, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, and Iraq, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi also attended the Geneva meeting.

UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan said the participants of the Geneva meeting agreed that the transitional governing body in Syria “could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent.”

Syria has been experiencing unrest ever since March 2011, with demonstrations being held both against and in support of President Bashar al-Assad's government.

The Syrian government says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.

Damascus also says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country and the security forces have been given clear instructions not to harm civilians.

MHB/MF/HGL
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