Saturday, June 2, 2012

No Libya style scenario to bring down President Assad: Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and French President Francois Hollande take part in a press conference at the Elysee palace in Paris on June 1, 2012

Source: Press TV

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned against any Libya-style plan to bring down the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Why are we thinking that if we push the current leadership from power, then tomorrow general well being will begin there?” Putin said after talks with his French counterpart Francois Hollande in Paris on Friday.

“What is happening in Libya? What is happening in Iraq? Has it become safer there?” he said. “We propose to act in an accurate, balanced manner at least in Syria.”

The Russian president also warned the situation in Syria was "extremely dangerous" and that he saw emerging signs of a civil war.

"As for sanctions, such questions must be discussed first at the UN Security Council. I think that, as you know, sanctions are still not effective. What we must do is [to] prevent the situation [from] evolving into the worst case scenario and fight against the possibility of civil war in Syria,” he said.

Putin noted that his country is pursuing a policy to reduce the violence in Syria to “the minimum.”

“We are not for Bashar Assad or for his opponents. We want to arrive at a situation where the violence is ended and the possibility of a civil war is completely avoided. That is the objective of our policy about Syria," he said.

The Russian president also accused Syrian armed gangs of killing hundreds of civilians.

For his part, the French president said that the ouster of the Syrian president must be the precondition for any political solution to the unrest. Hollande also called for the imposition of sanctions as a tool for pressuring Syria.

This comes as the recent killing of civilians in the Syrian village of Houla has fueled calls by some countries for more economic and diplomatic pressure on Damascus.

A Syrian government investigation into the massacre showed that anti-Damascus armed groups were responsible for the killings of over a hundred people, including dozens of women and children.

The head of the inquiry, Brigadier General Qassem Jamal Suleiman, said on Thursday that between 600 and 800 armed terrorists used heavy machinery to carry out the attacks.

This is while, about 280 UN observers are currently monitoring a ceasefire, which was part of a six-point peace plan brokered by UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan in March.

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