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NATO readies for military operation in Syria – envoy

Published time: August 05, 2011 07:53
Edited time: August 05, 2011 16:16
NATO ready to head to Syria? (AFP photo / Joel Saget)

NATO ready to head to Syria? (AFP photo / Joel Saget)

The North-Atlantic alliance is already planning a military operation in Syria, Russia’s envoy to the organization, Dmitry Rogozin has stated, adding that Moscow is going to oppose the move.

In an interview with Izvestia newspaper, Rogizin noted that a military campaign “could become a logical conclusion to the military and media operations which were carried out by the West in relation to North Africa”. That, according to the diplomat, referred specifically to those countries whose governing principles were different from those of the West.

“For instance, in Qatar, such an eventuality (a military operation) has not been considered; it’s a country that hosts American bases. A military intervention in Syria has never been ruled out,” he said.

Moscow, anticipating the possibility that a new UN Security Council resolution will be improperly interpreted – as happened with the one on Libya – will object to any military solutions in Syria, Rogozin pointed out.

On Wednesday, following three days of debates which failed to result in a formal resolution, the Security Council issued a non-binding statement. For the first time since the beginning of the unrest, it has officially condemned “the widespread violation of human rights in Syria and the use of force against civilians by the country’s security forces,” while also urging the Damascus authorities to respect human rights and observe international law.

“Those responsible for the violence should be held accountable,” the Council said in a presidential statement, the UN official website reports.

The 15-member body also stressed that “the only solution to the current crisis in Syria is through an inclusive and Syrian-led political process, with the aim of effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations of and concerns of the population which will allow for the full exercise of fundamental freedoms for its entire population, including those of expression and assembly.”

Meanwhile, dozens are believed to have been killed in the government’s violent crackdown on the protesters in the Arab republic. This week has become the bloodiest in the five-month long anti-government uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime.

According to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to date the Syrian government “is responsible for the deaths of more than 2,000 people of all ages." Speaking Thursday at a media conference, she repeated the administration’s stance, saying that “President Asad has lost his legitimacy to govern the Syrian people”. Clinton added that the US will “continue to support the Syrians themselves in their efforts to begin a peaceful and orderly transition to democracy”.

Moscow has been calling for a dialogue between the Syrian leadership and the opposition as they advocated reforms in the country.

“Unfortunately, people are dying in Syria in grave numbers, and that arouses our deepest concerns,” President Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with RT, Echo Moskvy radio station and First Caucasus Television.

“In my discussions with President Assad, both during our personal conversations and in our correspondence, I have been advocating one principal idea: that he should immediately launch reforms, reconcile with the opposition, restore civil accord, and start developing a modern state. Should he fail to do that, he is in for a grim fate, and we will eventually have to make some decisions on Syria, too. Naturally, we have been watching developments very attentively. The situation is changing, and so are our objectives,” the Russian leader stated.

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