News / Middle East

Western Powers Criticize Russian-Syrian Arms Sales

Members of the citizens action and human rights group Avaaz stage a protest with fake blood, body bags and wearing the mask of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Russia's Vladimir Putin outside the United Nations, January 24, 2012.
Members of the citizens action and human rights group Avaaz stage a protest with fake blood, body bags and wearing the mask of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and Russia's Vladimir Putin outside the United Nations, January 24, 2012.
Margaret Besheer

Britain, France and the United States condemned Russia’s sales of weapons to Syria on Tuesday, saying it is contributing to violence in that country.

Without naming Russia directly, but making it clear that it was the country they were speaking about, the three ambassadors separately criticized Moscow’s arms deals with Damascus during a meeting about the wider Middle East in the United Nations Security Council.

Russia has been in the news recently because a Russian ship carrying ammunition sailed to the Syrian port of Tartus, and most recently it was reported in Moscow that the government has signed a $500 million deal to sell Damascus 36 fighter jets.

U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said Washington is concerned by reports of shipments of arms and munitions to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We call on supplier countries to voluntarily halt arms transfers to the regime," said Rice.  "And we encourage all nations to join the widening effort to stop the flow of weapons to the Assad regime.”

Britain’s U.N. ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, said his government is concerned about weapons reaching Syria, both those sold or smuggled to the government or the opposition.  And Lyall Grant took issue with a recent interview Russia’s ambassador gave to the BBC in which he said that Moscow’s continued sale of arms to Damascus had “no effect on the situation at all.”

“We fundamentally disagree," said Grant.  "It is glaringly obvious that transferring weapons into a volatile and violent situation is irresponsible and will only fuel the bloodshed.”

France’s envoy, Gérard Araud, was more direct, urging arms embargoes be imposed and mentioning the movement of weapons from Iran into Syria.  He is heard here through a translator:

“It is unacceptable for countries, including within the [Security] Council, to continue to provide the means by which violence is committed against the Syrian people,” said Araud.

Both the Russian and Chinese ambassadors were silent on the subject of Syria during their remarks.

Western powers have suggested that Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby brief the Security Council on the League’s monitoring mission, which has just finished a month-long visit to Syria that has been plagued with difficulties.

On Tuesday, Syria’s national news agency reported that the Interior Ministry has agreed to extend the mission’s mandate for a second month, despite rejecting the Arab proposal for ending the crisis that includes President Assad transferring power to a deputy and preparations for elections.

The United Nations also has confirmed that it received a letter from the head of the Arab League requesting a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to present its proposals on resolving the crisis and seek the Security Council’s support.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid