Russia Defends Syria from Outside Interference

United Nations, April 27 (Xinhua) — Russia said here on Wednesday that the current situation in Syria, despite an increase in tension and confrontation, does not threaten international peace and security, but “a real threat to regional security . . . could arise from outside interference in Syria’s domestic situation.”

Alexander Pankin, Russia’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement as he was speaking at an open meeting of the UN Security Council on the current situation in Syria.

“The main thing in our view, is that the current situation in Syria, despite an increase in tension and confrontation, does not present a threat to international peace and security,” Pankin said.  “One cannot disregard the fact that the violence does not all originate from one side.”

“A real threat to regional security, in our view, could arise from outside interference in Syria’s domestic situation, including attempts to push readymade solutions or taking of sides,” he said.

“It is increasingly clear that some of the demonstrators both in Syria and in other countries hope that the deteriorating situation could force the international community to help them and to take sides,” he said.  “Such approaches lead to a never ending cycle of violence.  This is a type of invitation to civil war.”

With his statement, the Russian ambassador implied that there is no need for the Security Council to discuss this issue as the 15-nation body, under the UN Charter, only takes up issues that threaten international peace and security.

The Security Council on Wednesday first met behind closed doors on Syria and then held an open meeting to hear a briefing from the UN under-secretary-general for political affairs, B. Lynn Pascoe.

“Violence, regardless of perpetrators or sides, must be avoided,” Pankin said.  “It is only through constructive dialogue and the implementation of announced political reforms and social, economic change, that stability and democratic development in Syria for the good of all its citizens will occur.”

“It is extremely important to focus all efforts to avoid such a dangerous turn of events, especially as Syria is a cornerstone of the Middle East security architecture,” he said.  “Destabilizing this significant link in the chain will lead to complications throughout the region.”

“It is of a sense of deep concern that the Russian Federation views the increasing tension and manifestations of confrontation in Syria, which are claiming victims and causing suffering among demonstrators, law enforcement personnel and the army,” he said.  “We expect that the Syrian authorities will conduct a transparent and effective investigation of all such cases and that the guilty will be brought to justice.”

“Clearly, the process of democratic reforms, proclaimed and being implemented by Syria’s leadership, is worthy of support,” he added. “A great many significant steps have been taken over a very short period of time.”

This article was first published by the Xinhua News Agency on 28 April 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes.  Cf. “China Warns Against Instability in Syria” (27 April 2011); “China Hopes Syrian Parties to Resolve Differences through Political Dialogue” (Xinhua, 28 April 2011); Edith M. Lederer, “UN Security Council Fails to Agree on Statement Condemning Syrian Violence against Protesters” (Associated Press, 27 April 2011).

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