Russia sets conditions on peacekeeping mission to Syria

February 14th, 2012 - 8:50 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Feb 14 (IANS/RIA Novosti) An international peacekeeping mission to Syria requires approval from Damascus and, first of all, an end to the ongoing violence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

The Arab League, which ended an observer mission in Syria, asked the UN Security Council Sunday to send a peacekeeping force to the country.

It also called on Arab nations to break diplomatic relations with Damascus to pressure it to put an end to the ongoing violence.

“The host country has first to approve a peacekeeping mission,” Lavrov said.

“A peacekeeping mission should first have peace that it will then keep,” he said.

Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria that called on President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Thirteen of the council’s 15 members voted in favour of the resolution to help stop the violence in Syria.

The West has been trying to persuade Russia to support a resolution authorising a military operation but Moscow has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria was preparation for a scenario like Libya where its leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed by rebels after months of a NATO-led operation.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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