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G8 Concerned over terrorism in Syria.. Putin: arming opposition escalates crisis
G8 expressed deep concern over the mounting danger of terrorism and extremism in Syria. "

At their final statement, the G8 leaders echoed support for holding a conference in Geneva to resolve the crisis in Syria as soon as possible," AFP stated on Tuesday.

Putin: arming opposition would only escalate crisis

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following the final meeting of G8 that arming the Syrian opposition will only lead to escalating the crisis in Syria.

"It is impossible to stop the bloodshed in Syria except by the political means… any decisions to arm the Syrian opposition – which depend on uncertain accusations of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government – will lead to nothing but escalating the crisis," Putin said.

The Russian President didn't rule out the possibility of sending new weapon shipments to the Syrian government, saying that if Russia signed such agreements, it must honor them, and at the same time he warned the west against arming "criminals" involved in the crisis in Syria.

He affirmed that Russia exports weapons to the legitimate government in Syria according to legal contracts, asserting that Moscow's position in this regard is fully justified both morally and legally.

Putin rejected the US-European affirmations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons, asserting that there is no evidence on the use of such weapons by the Syrian government.

The Russian President said that there are none in the G8 who actually believe that the Syrian Army used chemical weapons, with several sides agreeing with Russia that there is no data that indicates such things.

"We have consensus on one thing; namely, we all denounce the use of weapons of mass destruction – including chemical weapons – no matter the source of this threat," he added.

Putin said that Russia called its partners during the G8 summit to continue work to hold the upcoming international conference on Syria in Geneva.

He called for a serious investigation of the reports about arresting members of the Syrian opposition in Turkey who possessed chemical weapons, adding that Russia received information from Iraq that a factory used for producing chemical weapons for the Syrian opposition was uncovered there.

The Russian President also call for discussing the results of the investigation into reports on the use of chemical weapons in Syria in the framework of the UN Security Council, voicing Russia's readiness to participate actively in this process.

Putin urged countries of the west not to rush into supplying weapons to the Syrian opposition due to the absence of a monitoring mechanism on how the weapons will be used in future, saying "I call on our partners to think once again before taking this step which is very dangerous."

He pointed out to the presence of extremist Islamists among the Syrian opposition, saying "the Europeans want to send weapons to those people… what will happen to these weapons? What side will look into whose hands the weapons will fall?"
Wed 2013-06-19  |  10:15:07   
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