Topic: Protests in Syria
US Secretary of State John Kerry at a joint press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Riyadh, on March 4, 2013© AFP 2013/ STR
WASHINGTON, March 4 (By Carl Schreck for RIA Novosti) – US officials are renewing criticism of Russia over the delivery of weapons to Syria, with US Secretary of State John Kerry openly chastising Russia Monday for the shipments and lawmakers calling on the Pentagon to halt business with Russian state-owned arms dealer Rosoboronexport.
“The bad actors, regrettably, have no shortage of their ability to get weapons from Iran, from Hezbollah, from Russia, unfortunately, and that’s happening,” Kerry told a news conference in Saudi Arabia after meeting with that country’s foreign minister, Saud al-Faisal.
The sale of Russian weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been a source of bilateral tension between Moscow and Washington, with US officials accusing Russia of arming a regime the United States says is killing its own citizens in Syria’s raging civil war.
Russia, however, has insisted that the deliveries are legal under international law and that it is not supplying Syria with offensive weapons. Moscow has also questioned the composition and goals of the various armed groups fighting the Assad regime.
Kerry’s comments came on the heels of a letter from US Sens. John Cornyn and James Inhofe urging new US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel abide strictly by a statute prohibiting the Pentagon from doing business with Rosoboronexport, according to the Washington-based nonprofit Human Rights First.
The lawmakers wrote to Hagel last week to express their “opposition to any continuation” of the Pentagon’s “business relationship with Rosoboronexport,” saying that such dealings would constitute a “direct subversion of existing law by the Department of Defense,” Human Rights First said in a statement.
Neither lawmaker’s office provided a copy of the letter upon request Monday, though a spokesman for Cornyn said he was aware of the correspondence.
The US Army has ordered hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of transport helicopters from Rosoboronexport, but US lawmakers inserted a ban into the 2013 US military budget prohibiting the Pentagon from engaging in business with the arms suppliers.
The budget, however, allows the Pentagon chief to use a “national security waiver” in order to do business with the state-owned firm.
A Pentagon spokeswoman told RIA Novosti that she could not immediately confirm whether Hagel had received the letter and whether Hagel would consider halting the Defense Department’s contracts with Rosoboronexport.
At their inaugural meeting last week, Kerry and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, spent the bulk of their time together discussing Syria, State Department officials said. And US President Barack Obama placed a call to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to discuss the deadly civil war as well.
“The two presidents agreed on the need to advance a political transition to end the violence [in Syria] as soon as possible and the importance of Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov continuing their engagement on Syria,” the White House said in a statement.
Washington has consistently maintained that it does not intend to arm the Syrian rebels, though it says that some of its allies in Europe and the Middle East have chosen provide weapons to the opposition forces.
Former Pentagon official Michael Rubin, a resident scholar specializing in Middle East issues at the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington, described the White House’s Syria policy “more geared to rhetoric than action” and said Obama’s national security team is unlikely to take a hard line with Moscow on the issue.
Andrew Kuchins, director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told RIA Novosti on Monday that he has seen no evidence that Moscow might cave to the West’s pressure and cease delivering arms to the Assad regime.
“It’s not beyond the pale to imagine that Moscow could want to make a positive gesture toward the Obama administration,” Kuchins said, “but I think they’d have to make the judgment that to do this, Assad really is done.”
Add to blog
You may place this material on your blog by copying the link.
- tec123They telling Russia the war must done but they turning around and supplying the guns “ democracy is the greatest fool democracy can be hypocrisy”07:44, 05/03/2013Well as I said before and many said before Russia will always be kicked around by the West unless Russia stands up, and to do so, is for Russia has to cut all agreements that ties their hands to the West.
They are telling Russia not to supply arms but they are supplying directly and indirectly.
So let’s see if Russia is willing to sellout for a few millions we are all waiting?
Russia must know that if Assad falls then next stop Iran then with the help of the West allies they will bring down oil prices to a level that will force Russia to dig deep into its foreign reserves, after with the help of their useful idiots inside Russia starts to stir up trouble.
- bielecNew Secretary of State, old policy...10:26, 05/03/2013Kerry had a chance to become the first, in a long time, Secretary of State with integrity. Unfortunately, he is not making decisions, he is just doing what is expected of him. The policies continue unchanged, as outlined by PNAC in 2000.
United States is supporting foreign mercenaries, traitors, and terrorists destabilizing Syria. Recent reports say that American special forces are training these criminals. Therefore, Kerry is personally responsible for the crimes against peace and crimes against humanity comitted by them.
Russia supports a legitimate Syrian government in restoring law and order. Therefore, Russia's policy represents a higher moral and legal ground than American use of terrorism in otherwise illegal wars of conquest.
Kerry should stop being a puppet and should stop destroying his reputation as a politician and a human being.
- mishkaSome extra information recommended.00:13, 06/03/2013http://www.en.rian.ru/world/20130303/179789001.html
Image Galleries: The First Woman in Space, Valentina Tereshkova
Infographics: Group of Eight: Countries and Permanent Members
Cartoons: Polar Explorer Day
News that Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin would resign in order to run for the mayoral election in September came as quite a shock. Sobyanin’s political potential is fairly dubious, not to mention his approval ratings. He has not finished many of the projects he initiated and the electoral effect from these projects is expected to come a bit later than September 2013. Sobyanin’s opponents were not entirely unprepared for this blitzkrieg.