UN resolution on Syria not hopeless, says Russian foreign minister
Russia is continuing to negotiate with Western powers about the wording of a United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday, reported dpa.
"We are not saying that this resolution is hopeless," he told the Munich Security Conference. But Lavrov made clear that Russia continued to have reservations about the resolution.
The resolution was watered down this week at Russia's insistence, leaving out key demands such as the resignation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Lavrov said the resolution should also condemn armed rebels who have caused bloodshed, not just the Syrian government. He also said he worried that the resolution, as worded now, prejudges some of the conditions in Syria.
"The peaceful protesters have our full support, but they are increasingly being used by the armed groups that cause some trouble," said Lavrov. "They attacked state institutions. They also intimidated people, telling them not to come to work."
Lavrov said he also wanted any resolution to specifically rule out the possibility of outside military intervention.
The minister's comments came as opposition activists accused the Syrian government of ordering a massacre in the central province of Homs, where overnight shelling killed 260 people. Activists said troops used mortar shells, tanks and heavy machine guns in the attack.
Responding to a question about whether Russia should stop arms shipments to Syria, Lavrov ruled out the possibility of those arms sales playing any role in the ongoing fighting between government and anti-government forces.
"The things we sell are not small arms. They're not used in the current conflict."
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is also at the Munich conference. She and Lavrov have both said they hope to discuss the UN resolution there, before the UN resolution comes up for Security Council debate later Saturday.