Moscow warns Arab League over giving Syria seat to rebels

Big News Network (IANS)
Thursday 14th March, 2013

Russia’s foreign ministry has warned the Arab League that its recent decision to give Syria’s seat to the opposition National Council would legalise arms supplies to terrorists.

The Arab League suspended Syria’s membership in November 2011, accusing President Bashar al-Assad of using lethal force against protesters.

The Arab League offered Syria’s vacant seat to the rebel Syrian National Coalition at a meeting in Cairo March 6.

Arab League secretary general Nabil Elaraby said the SNC was invited to choose a representative to attend a League summit in Qatar capital Doha March 26 and 27, Al Jazeera reported.

Iraq and Algeria expressed reservations, while Lebanon declined to be associated with the resolution, Elaraby said.

The Arab League’s decision to give the SNC the seat facilitates the possibility of legalising arms supplies to “terrorists”, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said.

“Considering that the most battleworthy force standing up to Syria’s regular army is admittedly Jabhat al Nusra, a terrorist group, it is easy to see who will become the ‘end user’ of that assistance,” Lukashevich said.

He said there was still a chance for talks between the Syrian government and the opposition groups.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier said that Russia was taking no sides in the Syrian conflict and hopes the Syrian opposition will soon form a team to negotiate with government representatives.

About 70,000 people have died in Syria since the start of the uprising against Assad in March 2011, according to UN figures.

–IANS/RIA Novosti


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