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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs