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Russia signals opposition to Western-backed Syria aid plan

Source: Reuters - Mon, 2 Jun 2014 11:25 GMT
Author: Reuters
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Syrian refugees rest under an umbrella at the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp in Azaz, near the Syrian-Turkish border, June 1, 2014. REUTERS/Hamid Khatib
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MOSCOW, June 2 (Reuters) - Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signalled on Monday that Russia would oppose a U.N. resolution authorising cross-border aid deliveries to Syria if it threatened to enforce it by military action.

The remark set the stage for a potential new showdown between Moscow and Western members of the U.N. Security Council, where Russia and China have blocked resolutions that would have condemned Syria's government or threatened it with sanctions.

Security Council members Australia, Luxembourg and Jordan have drafted a resolution that U.N. diplomats said would authorise cross-border aid deliveries into Syria at four points without government consent.

Diplomats have said the draft text falls under Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which would make it legally binding and enforceable with military action or other coercive measures such as economic sanctions.

Lavrov said Russia was always ready to discuss aid but that "these issues must not be politicised or used as a pretext to inflame passions and mobilise public opinion in support of the need for foreign interference in the Syrian crisis."

"These attempts are made primarily by trying to include citations of Chapter 7 ... in Security Council decisions," he told a news conference. "I think that is unacceptable, because we know what plans those who make such proposals have."

Lavrov gave no details, but Russia has often accused Western and Gulf Arab nations of seeking pretexts for military intervention or imposing sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

He also said any resolution on aid access should adhere to international law which he said "envisions cooperation with the host country," suggesting Russia would oppose the authorisation of aid deliveries without government consent.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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