Putin’s return will not change Russia’s stance on SyriaMarch 6th, 2012 - 11:00 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, March 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Vladimir Putin’s re-election as Russian president will not affect the country’s stance on Syria, analysts say.
Russia’s foreign minister is preparing to meet Arab League ministers in Cairo March 10 to discuss ways to resolve the crisis in Syria.
Sergei Lavrov announced the trip during talks with Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Moscow Monday, a day after Putin claimed victory at the presidential polls.
Putin warned the West not to interfere in Syria in the run-up to Sunday’s vote and accused the US of “political engineering” in regions that are “traditionally important” to Russia.
Russia and China had vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria last month and bowed out of an international conference aimed at applying more pressure on the Damascus government over its crackdown on anti-government protesters.
“The meeting on March 10 will be a valuable opportunity to analyze the situation from all sides,” Lavrov said. He, however, said there was no need for new action on Syria.
Nourhan el-Sheikh, professor of political science at Cairo University, said Putin “had a vision concerning Syria,” and that he wanted the world to “react correctly” to developments there.
“Putin was the one who established a new phase in the Arab-Russian relationship,” she said.
But Samir Altaqi, director of the Dubai-based Orient Research Centre, said “a lot of questions” remain about whether Putin will be able to “mend the role of Russia in the way that will establish a well-defined national interest for Russia while at the same time having more of a stake in the international community as we are entering a period of tumultuous crises across the region”.
Rights groups say more than 7,000 people have been killed in almost a year of unrest, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blames on “armed terrorist gangs”.
Yelena Suponina, head of the Center of Asian and Middle Eastern Affairs at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, said she saw “no grounds” for Russia’s relations with Damascus to change significantly after Putin’s return to the Kremlin despite “many unresolved issues”.
Russia is the biggest supplier of arms to Syria and has a naval base there.
Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the Institute for Middle Eastern Studies in Moscow, said Russia’s stance would not have altered no matter who won Sunday’s elections.
“Russia’s position is based on its political interests, not on somebody’s private concerns and since these interests have not been altered of late, and no proposals have been made to this effect by our Arab or Western partners, Russia’s position will remain the same,” he said.
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Tags: arab league, bashar al assad, cairo university, insti, middle eastern affairs, nasser, national interest, nourhan, president bashar, presidential polls, ria novosti, rights groups, russia russia, russian president, russian relationship, security council resolution, sergei lavrov, syrian president bashar al, un security council, vladimir putin