March 12, 2012
March 12, 2012
Iran stands fully behind Syria and blames the United States and Arab nations for the bloody unrest shaking its ally, media on Monday quoted a deputy foreign minister as saying.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran underlines its total support for the Syrian people and government,” Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, according to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
He said Western and Arab nations “that support the insecurity and instability in Syria are responsible for any aggravation of the crisis in Syria.”
Amir Abdollahian said Iran continues to believe in a “political solution” based on reforms agreed to by Assad.
Iran, the principal Middle East ally of Assad’s government, has denied U.S. allegations it is sending arms to Syria to help put down the uprising there.
It has also voiced its opposition to any military intervention in Syria.
U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan left Damascus on Sunday without managing to secure an accord to end bloodletting in Syria, as fighting raged in major flashpoints leaving dozens more dead.
A diplomatic clash is brewing over the situation in Syria among U.N. Security Council members. Russia and China have already twice vetoed resolutions condemning the violence.
British organizers of the event meant for it to be a review of the Arab Spring uprisings; the event however will be shaped by stark differences over how to stop Assad’s deadly assault on opponents.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and foreign ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia, William Hague of Britain, Alain Juppe of France and Guido Westerwelle of Germany will be among top officials at the event.
The council’s failure to agree a resolution condemning the Syria violence, the worsening toll in Syria — well over 7,500 according to the U.N. — and Assad’s refusal to allow humanitarian groups into the protest cities have all cast a dark cloud over preparations for Monday’s meeting.
Russia and China say the Western nations only want a resolution to back regime change. Lavrov said Russia opposes “crude interference” in Syria’s internal affairs, his ministry said after a meeting between Lavrov and Annan in Cairo.
Russia wants any resolution to call equally on the government and opposition groups to halt the violence. The Western members say the security force assault and attacks by opposition groups cannot be put on the same level.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who will brief Monday’s meeting, has bluntly accused Assad forces of using “disproportionate” force against what started out as peaceful demonstrators.
But Lavrov insists he is defending “international law,” while the United States and European members of the council say Russia is blocking international action to prop up its main Middle East ally. Russia, the second biggest arms supplier to Assad’s government, faces growing criticism from some Arab countries.
China has meanwhile proposed its own plan for talks between Assad and the opposition, which an envoy will press in the Arab world and Europe this week.
There are worries that the diplomatic tensions on the 15-nation Security Council could spread.
The foreign ministers of Portugal, Guatemala and Morocco are also expected at the Security Council meeting, organized by Britain as president of the Security Council for March. Business will start with the adoption of a resolution on the U.N. mission in Libya.
Clinton, Lavrov, Ban and EU foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton will hold a meeting of the diplomatic Quartet on the Israel-Palestinian conflict before the Security Council battle gets into gear.
By AL ARABIYA WITH AFP