ITWASSOOTED: Russia says will defend Syria against UN sanctions

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Russia says will defend Syria against UN sanctions

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia, Syria's close ally since Cold War times, will do all it takes to block any attempt to slap economic sanctions against Damascus, a Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

The United States and France threatened Syria with economic sanctions earlier this week if Damascus did not cooperate fully with a U.N. probe into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

"Russia will do everything necessary to stop attempts to introduce sanctions against Syria," spokesman Mikhail Kalmynin told Interfax news agency and other Russian media on the sidelines of Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's trip to Israel.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, angered the United States earlier this year by announcing plans to sell advanced missile systems to Syria, which Washington has accused of having links to terrorism.
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