[Debate] Russia gives Assad more time to push through reforms
critical.montages at gmail.com
Fri Aug 19 16:20:42 BST 2011
Unfortunately, there is _only one vote_ that really matters when it
comes to saving Syria -- by far the most beautiful country in the
predominantly Arab world -- from irreversibly disastrous foreign
intervention, and that's the Russian vote. True, China is also
opposed to the Western wrecking ball, too, but China, ever cautious,
never exercises its veto alone on an issue like this. For the time
being, Russia is holding up. Thank God for the senseless US "missile
MOSCOW, August 19 (RIA Novosti)
Russia gives Assad more time to push through reforms
Russia does not support calls by the U.S. and EU member states for
Syrian President Bashar Assad's resignation, the Russian Foreign
Ministry said on Friday.
"Our position regarding events in Syria is that the country's
leadership should receive enough time to implement its large-scale
political and economic reform program," a ministry statement said.
The ministry also said that Damascus had taken "substantial steps" in
the direction of reforms with the lifting of the decade-long state of
"We do not share the U.S. and EU viewpoint regarding President Assad,"
the ministry said.
Meanwhile, four members of the UN Security Council - Britain, France,
Germany and Portugal - will begin working on a Security Council
resolution on sanctions against Syria, Britain's deputy permanent
representative to the UN has said.
The government crackdown on opposition protests is estimated to have
killed at least 2,000 civilians since demonstrations began in Syria
five months ago.
In a phone conversation on Wednesday, Assad told UN Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon that all operations against protesters in Syria had been
halted. But as reports of new violence followed the pledge, Syria's
authoritarian ruler faced mounting pressure from world powers.
Syrian leader signals reconciliation
Aug 18, 2011 16:13 Moscow Time
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has told UN chief Ban Ki-moon that
Syrian army and police have stopped all military operations against
protesters, a UN spokesman said.
Mr. Assad was responding to a demand from the UN secretary general
during a phone call that “all military operations and mass arrest must
The UN secretary general expressed alarm at the latest reports of
continued widespread violations of human rights and excessive use of
force by Syrian security forces against civilians across Syria.
Qatar’s Al Jazeera cites local human rights groups as saying that
troops are still deployed in the cities of Latakia and Deir al-Zour.
In contrast, reports by Syria’s Sana say that a delegation of 70
journalists from 43 Arab and western news agencies saw troops pulling
out of Deir al-Zour, where an assault on opposition forces had been
continuing since last Wednesday, killing 32 civilians. Reports say
that more than 35 people were killed in Latakia, where anti-government
protests had been the worst and the authorities had to bring in naval
forces to quell the rebels.
Boris Dolgov, from the Oriental Research Institute of the Russian
Academy of Sciences, comments:
"It looks like Damascus has succeeded in suppressing the uprising.
President Bashar al-Assad based his statements on reality. In a way,
he also wanted to convince the international community that the
situation is back to normal and that Syria’s law enforcers have
crushed whatever armed units have been operating on the territory of
Mr.Assad is prepared to negotiate a peace settlement but not with all
members of the opposition, Boris Dolgov says:
"Dialogue is possible and has been going on with opposition leaders
who call for constructive, democratic changes. But there are armed
opposition groups that are fighting against the government and will
not negotiate any democratic freedoms as long as President Assad is in
power. They aim at toppling the president and don’t care what will
happen next. This is because these groups are so motley, consisting of
members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and mercenaries from Afghanistan
and Arab countries. Among them are Islamists who waged a war against
the president’s father Hafez Assad in the 1980s."
UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Bashar al-Assad to embark on reforms which
would bring about radical democratic changes. He called on the Syrian
leader to exclude any military intervention in this process.
Apparently, the arrival of a UN mission to Syria should provide a new
incentive for resolving the crisis. Bashar al-Assad assured Ban
Ki-moon that the United Nations would get access to various locations
in Syria. Experts are required to assess the humanitarian situation
and prepare recommendations for the forthcoming closed-door
consultations in the UN Security Council.
Syrian ruling party promises democracy
Aug 19, 2011 18:37 Moscow Time
A representative of the ruling (and the only) Syrian party “Arab
Socialist Renaissance” (more known under its Arabic name “Ba'ath”)
Yasser Huria has said that the government of President Bashar Assad is
working out a new constitution. This constitution will fully answer
the world’s current concepts of democracy, Mr. Huria assured.
He also said that President Assad’s current reforms “fully correspond
with the interests of the Syrian people”.
In the last few months, Syria lifted the emergency situation,
liquidated the Court of National Security, raised the state officials’
salaries, formed an anti-corruption department and introduced laws
concerning a multi-party system, parliamentary elections and the
Mr. Huria said that Mr. Assad’s government had tried to start a
dialogue with the opposition several times, but got no response.
'NATO cooperation unpopular in Russia'
Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:19PM GMT
A recent poll shows that majority of the population in Russia believe
that Moscow's cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
(NATO) jeopardizes their national interests.
According to the poll taken by Moscow-based Yuri Levada Analytical
Center between June 23 and 27, 2011, with a sampling of 1,600 people,
representative of the Russian adult population, 42 percent of those
questioned oppose Moscow's cooperation with the Western military
alliance while 27 percent support it.
Thirty-one percent of those questioned said they had no opinion.
The NATO-Russia Council approved an “ambitious” working plan to
"deepen and broaden" military cooperation for the year 2011 during a
meeting in Brussels, Belgium, on January 27.
The plan covers six main areas of partnership, including the fight
against terrorism and piracy, logistics, joint search and rescue
operations at sea, as well as theatre missile defense and military
However, Russian and NATO military officials failed to make headway in
resolving their differing views on the deployment of missile systems
Speaking at press conference in Norway on August 9, Russia's
ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, slammed the alliance's failure to
guarantee that American warships equipped with anti-missile systems
would not be deployed in the waters of north Europe.
"The very fact of deploying US military missile infrastructure in the
northern seas is a real provocation with regard to the process of
nuclear disarmament," said Rogozin.
"Why is no one giving guarantees that a US fleet equipped with Aegis
interceptor systems won't be deployed in the northern seas?" he added.
Moscow fears that the anti-missile system would undermine its nuclear
deterrent, and thus has been seeking legally binding guarantees to
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