Russian President Vladimir Putin during a press conference at the end of the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, September 6, 2013© RIA Novosti. Mikhail Klimentiev
ST. PETERSBURG, September 6 (RIA Novosti, Howard Amos) – The final day of the G20 summit in Russia on Friday did not see any significant narrowing of the split in the international community over US calls for a military strike on Syria, despite talks that stretched into the early hours of the morning.
The positions of US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin did not appear to change over the two-day summit, which is traditionally a forum for economic questions but this year has been dominated by the Syrian crisis.
In a press conference Friday, a visibly tired Putin reiterated his opposition to military intervention in the crisis without the support of the United Nations Security Council, and repeated his belief that fatal chemical weapons attacks in Syria, which Obama says were carried out by the ruling regime, were actually planned provocations.
“We do not agree,” Putin said after talks with Obama. “I do not agree with his arguments, and he does not agree with mine.”
Putin also said that Russia would continue to support the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. “Will we continue to help Syria? Yes, as we help them at the moment. We supply arms and cooperate on economic issues,” Putin said.
Obama said Friday that the international community was “stuck” over Syria and criticized “paralysis” at the UN Security Council.
The United States maintains that Assad is responsible for an alleged chemical attack on August 21 that killed 1,400 civilians. “When there is a breach this brazen of a norm this important and the international community is paralyzed … that makes for a more dangerous world,” Obama said. “If we’re not acting, what does that say?”
A limited military strike against Syria would reduce its ability to use chemical weapons, and would be “not Iraq, not [putting] boots on the ground, not a long drawn-out affair,” Obama said.
The G20 agenda did not include a scheduled meeting between Obama and Putin, but the two men said Friday that they spent about 20 minutes talking about Syria. Both claimed that they had a functional relationship, with Obama describing their conversation as “candid and constructive,” and Putin calling it “well-disposed.”
The other world leaders attending the G20 summit in the tsarist-era Constantine Palace outside St. Petersburg were divided in their support for the US calls for military intervention in Syria.
Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa, Italy, as well as the United Nations and the Pope, were all categorically opposed to military action, Putin said.
The White House released a statement later Friday calling for a “strong international response” to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. The statement was signed by Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Syria was reportedly the main topic of conversation during a long dinner for world leaders on Thursday, and discussions continued deep into the night.
Putin told a session of the summit on Friday morning that he had had a bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron that lasted until 2:30 a.m.
Cameron said that, on Syria, Putin was “miles away from what I think the truth is and miles away from what many of us believe," British newspaper The Guardian reported Friday.
One of the strongest voices of support for Obama came from French President Francois Hollande, who repeatedly described Assad as a “dictator” and said that the lack of military action against Syria would strengthen other dictators across the world.
Obama has asked the US Congress to support military action in Syria, and a vote is expected after Congress reconvenes on Monday. Obama refused to be drawn Friday on what his response would be if Congress fails to support him, or if he only wins the backing of either the House of Representatives or the Senate.
Obama also said Friday that he would make a televised address from the White House to the American people about Syria on Tuesday.
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- bielecPutin is right, Obama is wrong08:53, 07/09/2013Quote: - The United States maintains that Assad is responsible for an alleged chemical attack on August 21 that killed 1,400 civilians. “When there is a breach this brazen of a norm this important and the international community is paralyzed … that makes for a more dangerous world,” Obama said. “If we’re not acting, what does that say?” -
A compatible number of civilians and children were killed in Israeli bombing of both Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2008-2009). Israel was illegally using U.S. made cluster bombs and white phosphorus bombs in densly populated civilian areas. At that time, I did not hear Obama or any other U.S. leader calling it a breach this brazen of a norm this important or calling for international action to punish Israel. To the contrary, U.S. politicians were bragging about Israel's right to defend itself.
During the United Nations General Assembly Tenth Emergency Special Session, 15-16 January 2009, the representative of Yemen said:
"It is a paradox and surprising that this outrageous war declared by Israel against a people under occupation for four decades is justified under legitimate self-defence.
How can the occupier say, when the occupation itself is an aggression, how can the occupier continue to invoke self-defence? /.../
How can, whoever is imposing a mortal blockade against families and children, forbidding the access for medications and food, how is it possible to justify these inhuman practices and consider it to be self-defence?
The concept of self-defence perhaps has changed overnight, or has it perhaps been reinterpreted to cover Israeli crimes?
Whoever occupies the territory of another, creates settlements, and changes facts on the ground cannot say that this is self-defence because these acts are contrary to international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention."
In Syria, we have a legitimate government trying to restore law and order in a country attacked by terrorists and foreign mercenaries sponsored by the U.S. and its allies. Deliberate destabilization of Syria aims at a regime change and political domination for economic and strategic reasons. It is a brazen violation of international law and international norms. And yet, Obama is promoting a criminal war on Syria!
In addition, the G20 summit should deal with economic issues and should not be used by the U.S. administration to promote war on Syria, to promote a crime against peace. G20 summit does not have a mandate to make any decisions in such matters. This is what the UN and the UN Security Council are for.
- LocoIvanNice fabrication to…01:18, 08/09/2013‘spread disinformation and confusion by creating…Bielec's…own alternative interpretations of issues involved.’
‘A compatible number of civilians and children were killed in Israeli bombing of both Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2008-2009). Israel was illegally using U.S. made cluster bombs and white phosphorus bombs in densly populated civilian areas.'
You have to be a voluntary ratified party to the ‘Convention on Cluster Munitions’ agreement for this munition to be ILLEGAL to use. Israel was within their right at the time to use them because: 1) they are not signatories to the convention that requires them to formally renounce their use and 2) the 30th State to submit did not do so until 2010, entering it into force on 01Aug2010.
‘On 16 February Burkina Faso became the 30th State to deposit its instrument of ratification for the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This is an historic event as it means that the number of States required for the Convention to enter into force has now been reached.’(ICRC.org;17-02-2010)
‘USERS OF CLUSTER MUNITIONS
At least 19 government armed forces have used cluster munitions:
Colombia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Georgia, Iraq, Israel, Libya, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Yugoslavia (former Socialist Republic of).
Of this number, the following seven countries have now signed or ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, formally renouncing any future use of the weapon: Colombia, France, Iraq, Netherlands, Nigeria, South Africa, United Kingdom.’(stopclustermunitions.org)
Even the original, severely flawed and scathing ‘Goldstone Report’: Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, submitted to the UNHRC on 25Sep2009, states nowhere that white phosphorus is ‘ILLEGAL’. In fact, it acknowledges in the first sentence that it is NOT:
Proscribed: to condemn or forbid as harmful or unlawful.
‘901. While accepting that white phosphorous is not at this stage proscribed under international law, the Mission considers that the repeated misuse of the substance by the Israeli armed forces during this operation calls into question the wisdom of allowing its continued use without some further degree of control. The Mission understands the need to use obscurants and illuminants for various reasons during military operations and especially in screening troops from observation or enemy fire. There are, however, other screening and illuminating means which are free from the toxicities, volatilities and hazards that are inherent in the chemical white phosphorous. The use of white phosphorous in any from in and around areas dedicated to the health and safety of civilians has been shown to carry very substantial risks. The Mission therefore believes that serious consideration should be given to banning the use of white phosphorous as an obscurant.’(GoldstoneReport;25Sep2009)
‘At that time, I did not hear Obama or any other U.S. leader calling it a breach this brazen of a norm this important or calling for international action to punish Israel.’
No need to, because the use of those munitions DID NOT meet the TEST that the use of SARIN does under the Chemical Weapons Convention as a Schedule 1 substance.
YOU CERTAINLY MAKE IT EASY TO PROVE YOU WRONG WITH REAL FACTS.
Please, carry on.
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