Ashton: Russia falling short on its "responsibilities" with Syria
Russia must live up to its "responsibilities for international peace and security," the European Union's foreign policy chief said Wednesday, as pressure mounted on the country to stop blocking action by the United Nations Security Council on Syria, dpa reported.
Russia and China have been vetoing UN resolutions critical of the Syrian government's deadly crackdown on regime opponents, because they are concerned that they could eventually lead to military action similar to the NATO intervention in Libya.
Russia also has close military ties to Syria, having just delivered fighter planes worth 564 million dollars to Damascus. The Russian Navy also has a strategic base there.
"Old alliances may matter, but the fate of the people of Syria matters much more," Catherine Ashton told the European Parliament during a debate in Brussels.
"As a permanent member of the Security Council, Russia needs to take its responsibilities for international peace and security seriously," she added.
More than 5,400 people are estimated to have been killed in the 11-month-old Syrian conflict.
"It is true that Russia disagreed with the international community's approach to Libya," Ashton acknowledged. "But it's also clear that we cannot let the Syrian people pay the price for past disagreements. Syria is a case of its own."