Russia accuses U.S. of double standards over Syria

Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38am EST
 

By Alessandra Prentice

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the United States on Friday of having double standards on Syria, saying it had blocked a U.N. Security Council statement condemning a car bomb attack in Damascus.

Washington denied it had blocked the statement and said it had only asked for balance. The disagreement was likely to sour the atmosphere before Lavrov meets newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry next week in Berlin.

Lavrov told a news conference Washington had disappointed Moscow by blocking a statement condemning "terrorist attacks" near the Russian embassy in Damascus that killed more than 50 people and that Washington was threatening international unity in the "war on terror".

"We believe these are double standards," Lavrov said after talks with China's foreign minister.

"And we see in it a very dangerous tendency by our American colleagues to depart from the fundamental principle of unconditional condemnation of any terrorist act, a principle which secures the unity of the international community in the fight against terrorism," he said.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. mission at the United Nations said it had not blocked any statement of condemnation but had sought to balance the text with criticism of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, which it said Russia had rejected.

"We strongly condemn all indiscriminate terrorist attacks against civilians or against diplomatic facilities," said Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the U.S. mission.

Ties between Washington and Moscow have worsened since Vladimir Putin returned to Russia's presidency last May.   Continued...

 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks at a news conference after a meeting of the Russia-Arab cooperation forum in Moscow February 20, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin