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Syrian rebels possibly armed by the West, Russian diplomat claims

The Russian ambassador in Vienna has alleged that the Western world may provide the Syrian opposition with weapons.

Asked by newspaper Die Presse why his country refused to stop delivering arms to the Syrian regime, Sergey Nechayev said today (Fri): "There is no embargo and we do not deliver strategic weapons. We strictly obey international rules. (...) Where do (Syria’s) opposition forces get their weapons from? You should pose this question to our foreign partners."

Nechayev argued that "others would fill this economic gap" if his country stopped shipping weapons to the civil war-shattered Arabian country which he described as a "strategic partner for Russia".

Speaking about Russia’s veto to a resolution against Syria by the United Nations (UN), Nechayev said that "there is no confrontation between East and West. We generally cooperate excellently. There are differences in opinion now and then but this is nothing unusual."

Several Western countries recently withdrew their diplomatic staff from Syria to set a signal against the killings carried out by the troops of President Bashar al-Assad. Nechayev told Die Presse that this measure was taken "at the wrong time. You may easily lose the overview about the situation."

The Russian ambassador in Austria criticised the international community for failing to appeal to Syria’s opposition to stop the violence. He said such calls must be made to both parties of the conflict. Human rights organisations fear that more than 6,000 people lost their lives in the past months as the country’s leadership keeps attacking unarmed protesters who take to the streets for freedom and democracy.

Nechayev said today he was concerned by the rising death toll in Syria but also underlined the precarious situation of supporters of executed Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi who are now, according to Nechayev, "brutally persecuted" by the North African country’s new leaders. The former ambassador of Russia in Germany also expressed worries about occurrences in Egypt.

Speaking to Die Presse, Nechayev also revealed that the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) failed to inform him about its trip to Chechnya, the Caucasian country which closely cooperates with Russia since the end of the most recent armed conflict.

A delegation headed by the opposition faction’s foreign affairs spokesman Johannes Hübner and FPÖ Vienna whip Johann Gudenus met with Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny a few days ago. Hübner said the goal of the mission was to secure peace in the country. However, the Austrian right-winger also agreed on supporting the creation of a Chechen cultural association in Austria aiming at encouraging refugees to return back home.

"We stay in touch with all politically legitimated movements in Austria but I did not know about the journey (of the FPÖ delegation). I am not aware of how it was arranged," Nechayev said. Speaking on Chechen television, Hübner stressed he was "impressed" by the country’s progress towards stability and peace. Nechayev claimed today that a mission of the Austrian interior ministry found the same already in autumn of last year.

Non-government organisations (NGOs) accuse Kadyrov of constant human rights violations. Around 300 agents are operating in Austria for the Chechen leader, according to the Austrian Office for the Protection of the Constitution. They are ordered to intimidate asylum seekers and active representatives of the Chechen opposition, according to Austrian officials. Nechayev told Die Presse today that such allegations were "science fiction".

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  • Kla wrote on 14. 03. 2012 from SOWVokywICmJpvgUW about "Syrian rebels possibly ar..."

    Clearly, the years 2000-01 were a turning point for the US in the Middle East. An Israeli-Palestinian stnmleeett in 2000 would almost certainly have led to an Israeli-Syrian agreement and a warming or normalization of relations between Syria and the US. Unfortunately, it didn't happen, and as a result Iran is by no means isolated in the region. The opportunity 9/11 presented to reach out to Iran was neglected (indeed, spurned) by the Bush administration; instead we got the Iraq invasion and a pie-in-the-sky program to democratize the Arab world. Given Palestinian and Syrian accords with Israel, an Iraq invasion probably would have dropped off the neocon's list of priorities.In any case we have witnessed a series of disasters beginning with the collapse of the Clinton-brokered peace plan of 2000. An Israeli-Palestinian stnmleeett seems impossible of achievement, Syria is oriented toward Tehran (and won't Iraq follow the same line as US troops leave?), and Islamism seems to be gaining strength in Turkey (what's with the Turkish Army these days?). Yet we are bull-neadedly moving toward conmfrontation with the Islamic Republic over the nuclear issue. Are we going to base our future policy in the region on the Israeli and Saudi connections, plus a US military presence in the Gulf? Seems a recipe for conflict and, quite possibly, a big disaster to me. How is America strengthened by such a policy? Why do most policy-makers fail to perceive our true interests?

    Reply


Cosmo and Nanu
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