Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the West has been trying to blackmail Moscow into accepting a military intervention in Syria.
On Monday, Lavrov said the Western threats to discontinue the UN unarmed observer mission to Syria if Russia does not agree to allow the West to use force in the country amounts to blackmail.
“We will not be able to allow passage of a Security Council resolution that is not based on the Geneva agreements,” he said.
The Russian foreign minister once again reiterated Moscow’s opposition against a military intervention in Syria.
Lavrov made the comments ahead of a meeting with UN-Arab League envoy for Syria Kofi Annan on Monday.
The Security Council is debating a new resolution on Syria, spurred by the July 20 expiration of the mandate for the UN observer force.
Russia says any change of power in Syria must be achieved through negotiation.
Lavrov also said it was unrealistic to try to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down.
“He won’t leave, not because we are defending him, but simply because a very significant part of the population in Syria stands behind him,” he said.
Syria has been gripped by more than 16 months of unrest.
Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
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