‘US gives a wink and a nod to those sending military aid to terrorists in Syria’ - Churkin




As Russia takes over its month-long presidency of the UN Security Council, the country’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin tells RT, that Washington’s resolve not to provide terrorists in Syria rebels with lethal arms still leaves room for concern.

Russia’s term starts on March 1 and will last for one month. The role of the president of the Security Council involves setting the agenda, presiding over meetings, and overseeing any crisis.

On the eve of occupying the presiding chair at the Council, Russia's envoy to the UN spoke with RT about what will be on the agenda and other acute international issues.

RT: What to do with Syria next? How is Russia going to try to bring people together there over the next month?

VC: There is nothing specific at this point in our program of work on Syria. But of course Syria comes our way every now and then under different circumstances. For instance, yesterday there was a stirring briefing to the consultation of the Security Council of humanitarian agencies describing the awful situation in that country. So, of course, there is a lot of worry and frequent discussions in the Security Council on the situation in Syria.

Our position is very simple: we believe that violence must stop and for that dialogue must be established without precondition. And the government is saying that they have outlined their negotiating team and they outlined their proposals for dialogue. There is a Geneva document of June 2012, which, we believe, should serve as the consensus basis for dialogue.

We can help them. Russia is trying to do exactly that by talking at the same time with the government and various opposition groups urging them to enter dialogue.

But unless they themselves make their determination I am afraid the violence will continue and the crisis will continue to spiral.

RT: The Syrian opposition has been promised more 'non-lethal' help from the US today. Where is the 'lethal' support coming from? What’s Russia’s view on that?

VC: There is a general understanding that maybe Qatar is supplying weapons to Syria, but here I am basing myself mostly on newspaper accounts and on previous experience, because it’s well-known now, that in the course of the crisis in Libya, for instance, Qatar happened to be a major supplier of weapons into that country.

You know there is all this talk about non-lethal assistance from the US. There is a certain clear division of labor. The US for a number or reasons chooses not to sully its hands with direct supply of weapons to the armed groups, because among them are terrorists and others, with whom the US would prefer not to be associated.

But at the same time they give a wink and a nod to those who provide direct military aid to rebel armed groups. All this is very unfortunate, because it takes attention away from the need to enter a political dialogue.