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Russia to Veto Syria Arms Embargo - Envoy

Russia will not support any arms embargo on Syria, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said on Wednesday.

Russia will not support any arms embargo on Syria, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin said on Wednesday.

“How can we say that we will tear up all of our contracts, sever all our ties with Syria,” he asked rhetorically.

“We will not agree to any embargo, not even so much as a hint of an embargo.”

His remarks echo those made by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday.

“We signed some contracts and contracts must be implemented,” he said, stressing that “we are arming the constitutional government: We don't approve of what it is doing, using force against demonstrators but we're not picking sides, we're implementing our commercial contractual obligations.”

The arms Russia is selling to Syria “are not used against demonstrators but to ensure Syria’s defense,” the Russian minister said.

The head of Russia’s state-controlled arms exporter Rostekhnologii, Sergei Chemezov, said last Wednesday that Moscow faced losing its leading position in the Middle East and North African arms market if it failed to maintain arms deliveries to Syria.

Lavrov also indicated Russia will veto a draft resolution on Syria that calls on President Bashar Assad to step down and provides for “further measures” if he refuses.

The European-Arab draft, to be presented to the UN Security Council in two weeks, is due to be debated at the Security Council later on Tuesday.

Russia has been one of Assad’s staunchest supporters during the ten-month-long uprising against his regime. Moscow has proposed its own draft UN resolution on Syria, but Western members of the Security Council have criticized it for being too soft.

At least 5,400 people have been killed in the government's 10-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.


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