A few days ago, there were some analysts who saw a slight modification in Russia’s stance on its ally Syria when Moscow decided to support the UN resolution condemning the Houla massacre. Those who are looking to see more cooperation from the Kremlin on this front will doubtless be disappointed by the following news from AFP, regarding the decision of Western powers to expel Syria’s diplomats:
Russia said the rebuke Syria has already received at the Security Council for the massacre went far enough and condemned the “counterproductive” expulsion of Damascus’s envoys.
“We believe that a review now by the Security Council of any new measures on the situation would be premature,” Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said.
“It is essential to give the plan of (UN-Arab League envoy) Kofi Annan time to work,” because intervention could “only exacerbate the situation for both Syria and the region as a whole,” he told the Interfax news agency.
“And it is also important for all the outside players — including our Western partners — to put corresponding pressure on the opposition.”
The foreign ministry later added that the expulsions by European nations as well as Canada and the United States of Syrian envoys “closed up diplomatic channels that could be used to exchange opinions and put constructive pressure on the government of Syria.”
Another top Russian official said the idea of armed intervention — also supported by nations such as Australia — appeared to be based on “emotions”.