Syria Crisis: Riyadh Hits Out At Russia’s Accusation


Saudi Arabia yesterday lambasted Russia for making false accusation that it was supporting terrorism in Syria. It said Moscow should take moral, legal and criminal responsibility for backing the crimes of President Bashar Assad’s regime.

“Only history will reply to this false accusation for it is a witness to who are the real terrorists and who are backing them,” a Foreign Ministry official said.

The Saudi official was commenting on the “dangerous and irresponsible” statement made by the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman on March 4.

“Saudi Arabia has been dealing with the Syrian crisis on the basis of international legitimacy and through the UN Security Council but its efforts were blocked by the veto, giving Syria the license to continue its crimes against unarmed civilians, violating human values and international charters.”

The official said the Russian accusation was based on wrong assumptions that the Syrian opposition was composed of Al-Qaeda and other armed terrorist groups.

“This shows Russia flagrant support to a regime that commits crimes against humanity,” he added.

Riyadh’s reaction came as US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Washington is looking at providing nonlethal aid to Syria’s opposition forces, including radio equipment, to help in their fight against Assad’s regime.

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos, meanwhile, made a brief visit to the devastated Baba Amro district of Homs in Syria.

Training Syrian rebels

Russia also accused Libya during a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday of running a training center for Syrian rebels battling forces loyal to President Assad.

“We have received information that in Libya, with the support of the authorities, there is a special training center for the Syrian revolutionaries and people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government,” Russia’s Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin told the UN Security Council.

“This is completely unacceptable,” Churkin said. “This activity is undermining stability in the Middle East.”

But Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib said the world should help the Syrian people obtain their freedom. The prime minister spoke at the International Peace Institute Wednesday before addressing the UN Security Council.

He said the situation in Syria “is definitely analogous” to last year’s uprising in Libya, which received help from NATO to help protect civilians.

But he said Libya can’t tell the international community what to do to help Syria.

El-Keib said Libya was supporting and financially helping Syria’s opposition and he called on the international community to investigate what it can do to help.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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