Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the West against encouraging anti-government uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, insisting that such attitudes could lead to “a very big war that will cause suffering not only to countries in the region, but also to states far beyond its boundaries.”
Lavrov’s comments came Wednesday during his annual news conference, which focused mostly on criticizing Western policies in Iran and Syria, which he said could escalate violence.
His remarks followed a report on state-controlled television that accused the American ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, who has been in Moscow for less than a week, of working to provoke a revolution in the Russian capital, according to The New York Times
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also attacked the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy, which he said serves American interests, the Times reported.
Lavrov vowed that Russia would use its United Nations Security Council position to veto any United Nations authorization of military strikes against the government of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria. The United Nations has insisted repeatedly that Syria should end its crackdown on opposition demonstrators that has led to hundreds of deaths during the past month.
“If someone conceives the idea of using force at any cost — and I’ve already heard calls for sending some Arab troops to Syria — we are unlikely to be able to prevent this,” the Times quoted Lavrov as saying. “But this should be done on their own initiative and should remain on their conscience. They won’t get any authorization from the Security Council.”
Lavrov alleged that foreign governments are arming “militants and extremists” in Syria, and he issued a stern response to Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who expressed concern on Tuesday about possible Russian arms shipments to Syria.
“We don’t find it necessary to explain or justify anything,” Lavrov said. “We are only trading goods with Syria that are not prohibited by international law.”
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