Russia has warned against any unilateral action on Syria a day after US President Barack Obama threatened “enormous consequences” in the event the government in Damascus uses chemical or biological arms or moves them in a menacing way.
Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, speaking on Tuesday after meeting China’s ambassador, said Moscow and Beijing were committed to “the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law … and not to allow their violation”.
Qadri Jamil, Syrian deputy prime minister, also speaking in Moscow, dismissed Obama’s threat as media fodder.
“Direct military intervention in Syria is impossible because whoever thinks about it … is heading towards a confrontation wider than Syria’s borders,” he said at a news conference.
Jamil said the West was seeking an excuse to intervene, likening the focus on Syria’s chemical weapons with the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US-led forces on what proved to be false claims that Saddam Hussein was concealing weapons of mass destruction.
Jamil also said that President Bashar al-Assad’s resignation could be a topic of discussion, though he rejected the idea of making it a precondition for future talks.
“As far as his resignation goes, making the resignation itself a condition for holding dialogue means that you will never be able to reach this dialogue,” he said.
“But any problems can be discussed during negotiations. We are even ready to discuss this issue.”