MOSCOW,(ST)_ Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has warned that deployment of Patriot missiles on the Turkish territories will increase the risk of instability in the Middle East in the future.
In a in a joint press conference with his Bangladeshi peer Dipu Moni , following their talks in Moscow on Friday , the Russian Foreign minister added that the installation of the Patriot missiles systems on Turkish territories will ignite armed conflicts in the region.
In a telephone conversation with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Lavrov "affirmed Russia's concern about plans to increase military capabilities in the region," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
It added that Lavrov reiterated Russia's proposal for the establishment of a direct line of communication between Ankara and Damascus with the aim of avoiding incidents between the neighbors.
"The main concern is the more weapons there are, the greater the risk that they will be used," Lavrov said before the phone call with NATO secretary general , speaking at a news conference following talks in Moscow with Bangladesh's foreign minister, Dipu Moni.
Lavrov said the deployment of the NATO missiles in the Turkish lands could have the opposite effect.
He told the news conference that Russia understood that no one intended to drag the NATO alliance into the Syrian crisis "but ... in the military field, what is important is not intentions, but potential.
"And when potential increases, the risks grow," he said.
"Our concerns are rooted in the 'Chekhov’s gun syndrome’ that says that if a gun appears on stage in the first act, it will definitely fire by the third," Lavrov said.
The emergence of weapons at a time when attempts are being made to resolve a conflict creates risks – not necessarily due to the scenario, but because any stockpile of weapons naturally creates threats, he explained.
"Any provocation may trigger a very serious armed conflict. We want to avoid this," he said.
On the other hand, Lavrov voiced Russia 's support for convening a conference for Syrian internal or external opposition based on willingness to maintain a dialogue with the Syrian leadership , noting Russia 's support all proposals to unify the Syrian opposition to this end.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry expressed strong reservations over Turkey's request for Patriot missiles on its territory.
"Militarization of the Syrian-Turkish border is an alarming signal,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich said during a news conference in Moscow on Thursday.
The diplomat advised Turkey to instead promote dialogue between Damascus and the Syrian opposition.
“We have a different recommendation for our Turkish colleagues: They should use their influence on the Syrian opposition to promote the soonest beginning of the inter-Syrian dialogue," he said.
The ministry spokesman strongly advised Turkey against “building muscle or putting the situation on such a dangerous track."
NATO, the Western military alliance of which Turkey is a member, called Russia’s objections to the proposed Patriot missile installations “unjustified.”
Speaking in Zurich on Thursday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen played down Russian concerns, saying that Patriot missile installations in Turkey would be “purely defensive.”
Germany and the Netherlands both agreed to send Patriot missile batteries to Turkey if the request received the support of their respective legislators.
NATO previously provided Ankara with Patriot missile systems in 1991 and 2003 during both Iraq wars. The systems were removed after the conflicts ended.
The Patriot surface-to-air missile, which can be used to defend against medium- and short-range ballistic missiles, has a maximum range of about 160 kilometers (100 miles).