Russia refuses to budge on Syria sanctions
MOSCOW - Russia said on Friday it strongly disagreed with changes to its draft UN Security Council resolution on Syria that are being promoted by Western states.
"Unfortunately, the West's approach radically differs from ours," Deputy Foreign Minister Gannady Gatilov was quoted as saying by Interfax.
"Judging by the contents of their proposed amendments, their goal is clearly aimed at removing (President Bashar) al-Assad's regime in Damascus," he said,
Russia and China vetoed a European resolution on Syria in October but Moscow surprised the Security Council two months later by proposing its own resolution condemning violence by both the government and opposition.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week accused Russia of refusing to negotiate changes to its draft that would also suit Western nations by placing blame for the 10-month crackdown on Assad.
Gatilov said Russia firmly insisted that any UN action rules out the possibility of foreign military involvement in the conflict and highlights the violence being committed by both sides.
"Their position attempts to completely and wholly place the blame on the Syrian government and in every way possible absolve the actions of the armed opposition."
He added however that Russia would enter new consultations on the draft at the Council within the coming days.