US 'blackmailing' Russia into military action in Syria
Published 23/09/2013 | 05:00
RUSSIA has accused the United States of trying to blackmail it into accepting a UN resolution authorising military action against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said Western countries had threatened to stop working to implement Syria's chemical disarmament deal unless Russia supports a UN Security Council resolution that includes Chapter 7, which keeps open the possibility of military intervention.
"Right now Western partners are trying to unceremoniously push through a resolution under Chapter 7," Mr Lavrov told state television, explaining Western powers intended to "move the (chemical weapons) convention aside to advance individual, personal or geopolitical, state ambitions".
Russia, which has blocked three draft Security Council resolutions on Syria, opposes Western threats of force against an ally that Moscow has continued to arm and support during the civil war.
The US, Britain and France want a tough resolution that could include sanctions or use of force under Chapter 7, if Syria fails to implement the deal.
Syria has released information about its chemical weapons to the OPCW, the UN-backed weapons watchdog, surprising many Western diplomats.
The disclosures met the first deadline of a US-Russia brokered accord that the UN Security Council is due to endorse in the coming days. Mr Lavrov said Russia was ready to send troops to Syria, as part of an international presence to ensure the safety of UN chemical weapons inspectors. (© Daily Telegraph, London)