News / Europe

Clinton Says Russian Arms Sales to Syria Raise Concerns

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.
US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gives a speech in Oslo, Norway, Friday June 1, 2012.
OSLO, Norway - Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country is not supplying arms to the Syrian government to use against opponents. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Russian arms sales to Syria are of "serious concern" and could lead to civil war.

President Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that Russia does not support any side in what he called an "extremely dangerous" situation in Syria. Following talks in Berlin, he said Russia "does not provide weapons that could be used in a civil conflict."

The Russian government has long defended its continuing arms sales to Damascus, saying President Bashar al-Assad's forces have the right to protect themselves against rebels that Damascus says are being supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Secretary of State Clinton says Russian arms have helped President Assad withstand international pressure to step down after 15 months of violence.

"We know that there has been a very consistent arms trade even during this last year of violence in Syria coming from Russia to Syria. We also believe that the continuing supply of arms from Russia has strengthened the Assad regime," said Clinton. "What those arms are being used for we can not speak with any accuracy. But the fact that Russia has continued to sustain this trade in the face of the efforts by the international community to impose sanctions and to prevent further arms flowing to the Assad regime and in particular the Syrian military has raised serious concerns on our part."

Chancellor Merkel says she and President Putin both favor a political solution, with the work of U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan as a starting point. President Putin said he believes it is possible that Mr. Annan's mediation can work, but it requires what he calls "a certain level of professionalism and patience" warning that "nothing should be done with force and be expected to have an instant effect."

Secretary Clinton discussed the conflict in Syria with Norwegian government officials in Oslo Friday. She says "very strong opposition" from Russia is making it harder to put together an international coalition against President Assad.

"Their position of claiming not to take a position is certainly viewed in the Security Council, in Damascus, and elsewhere as a position supporting the continuity of the Assad regime," said Clinton. "And if Russia is prepared, as President Putin's remark seems to suggest, to work with the international community to come together to plan a political transition, we will certainly be ready to cooperate.

She says the United States is looking forward to finding a way to work with Russia to end the violence and support the Annan plan. Without Russian support, she says, Mr. Annan can not expand his mandate to push Damascus to confront what she calls terrible dangers in Syria.

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Comment Sorting
by: MVP from: usa
June 04, 2012 10:57 AM

by: Farmboy from: Nova Scotia
June 01, 2012 5:31 PM
Yes , Russian arms sales are a concern , especially to American arms dealers .

by: Get Serious from: Arizona
June 01, 2012 3:50 PM
Wow, NATO - "Wolf Group", have not heard of that term except once or twice used in WWII referring to Nazi Combat groups or sub groups. I would imagine if you apply that to what happened in Libya with Quaddafi - who would be the wolves? His own people or NATO - because I don't recall a NATO solider executing Mr. Quaddafi as I recall it was one of his own people. What is in question here is human and civil rights as applied by sovereign country and whether or not we all standby and let it happen or whether we solve it - diplomatically, militarily, economically or old school COLD WAR style - arm both sides and see who comes out on top or worse yet get drawn into the conflict. Those are the choices - period. So, the question is how big does the death count climb before we all care? It has been proven econmic sanctions won't work, cold war tactics are way too scary, militarily - we need to compare it to Libya - or hopefully somebody in the upper echelons of Syria cuts the snakes' head off. We only need to look at Egypt, or Algeria to compare. Do not be naive to think that the Arab Spring is an orchestrated western conspiracy to push NATO through each and country with left wing or communist support. We all saw the results of Libya and the "barbarian execution" of Quaddafi - but YOU answer the question was the end result better for the people of Libya or worse? And how could it have been better that Mr. Quaddafi would have received a better meeting to his end in power? Stop bashing the west or NATO - find a better way get Al Assad out of power - because really it isn't about the US or Russia - it is about the person ordering the killings, massacres versus trying to solve their internal insurgency via some diplomatic means.

by: vkmo from: Silicon Valley
June 01, 2012 3:24 PM
Warning: And anybody who challenges him gets Putinjail.

by: Not pro-US? then dictator
June 01, 2012 2:56 PM
Hey, are you dictator? Are you feeling not safe because you are a dictator? Don't worry, just pro-US, then you will get safety. Are you still doubting? Trust me, look at Saudi Arabia -- the most dictatoria country in the world. They are one of our best friends because they are pro-US and willing to help us get rid of our enemies such us Iran..... There are many other dictators who are our good friends.

by: Jake from: Earth
June 01, 2012 2:39 PM
Maybe Americans should worry about all the assualt rifels and machine guns being sold to Mexican Nationals and how this is fueling the violence of the drug lords/cartels.

by: NATO -- A wolf group
June 01, 2012 2:12 PM
It's only way to cope NATO(wolf group) that Russia unites with China.

by: Such A Joke!
June 01, 2012 2:08 PM
Is your government not pro-western? Ok, no problem, let's start: first, western countries will encourage some people of your country to be "anti-government org.", then encourage and support this "anti-govenment" to make issues and violence that forces your government to put down the messy and violence in order to keep your country in order, then western countries start to condemn you "Massacring" "peaceful protests", then request UN that is controlled by western countries to condemn too, then NATO, the wolf group, is getting ready to attack, then .... Everything is like this model, no difference. Such a joke!!!!!!

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