WASHINGTON, March 7 (RIA Novosti)
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Russia has all the instruments it needs to pressure the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at United States Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on Wednesday.
“There's no question in my mind that Russia could play a very significant role in putting pressure on Assad. They've got a port there; they have influence there; they have dealings there,” he said.
“Unfortunately, they - the position they've taken in the U.N. was to oppose the resolution and that's a shame. But there is no question that they and the Chinese, if they want to advance the cause of the Syrian people, they could bring great pressure on them to do the right thing,” Panetta said.
Syria has been the scene of continuous anti-government protests for nearly a year. According to the United Nations, more than 7,500 people have died in the unrest, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blames on "armed terrorist gangs."
Russia has been seen in the West as the staunchest supporter of the Assad regime as it has used its veto right in the UN Security Council to block a resolution calling on Assad to immediately end violence against protesters and launch dialogue with opposition groups.
Moscow insists that both the government and “armed terrorist gangs” operating in Syria should be held responsible for the unrest, warning against any attempts by foreign nations to interfere in Syria’s domestic affairs.
“Both countries have been embarrassed, I think, by the stand that they took on the U.N. resolution,” Panetta said.
“You know, if Russia wants to maintain its contacts with Syria, maintain their port and have some involvement with whatever government replaces Assad, I think they might be thinking about an approach that would allow them to have some impact on where this goes,” he said.
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- bielecTools and will are two different things23:53, 07/03/2012"Russia Has Tools to Pressure Assad." - Yes, just like the USA has tools to pressure Netanyahu, and the regime in Bahrain, and the regime in Saudi Arabia. But does the USA have the will to do it? Oh, that's a different story...
- xama226Paneta shifts the blame04:29, 08/03/2012There are hundreds of mercenaries (including americans such as The Blackwater) group) fighting in Syria. Libya is training a lot more. Special operations groups from UK, France
are also there. 19 French intelligence service personnel have been arrested. So the the regime change scenario in Syria is in full display. It is riding on the legitimate demands of the
part of Syrian population who wanted peaceful change. The west wants to control Syria in order to be able to position itself for the hydrocarbon story of the east mediterrranean as well
in preparation for the war on Iran.
- Szabolcs(no title)19:43, 08/03/2012The shame is not of Russia and China opposing in the UN SC the West supported resolution which was a pretext for Western military intervenetion in Syria like in the Libya scenario, on the contrary! The shame is on the US regime;including the Panettas,Clintons and the "Nobel Peace Price winner" for training,arming and infiltrating terrorists into Syria with the purpose of regime change.The US and its zionistic allies are the shame! They start and foment a civil war in Syria ( as they did last year in selected other oil rich or strategically important Arab countries (i.e. the so-called "Arab spring" which was neither Arab nor spring but a US/CIA fomented plot of US imperialism!)which is resulting in large scale killings and devastation and all the time they stand aside and lament like histeric old women( which Clinton a.o. indeed are!) that this should all stop ,how terrible this is and Russia should use its influence on presiden Assad to stop this bloodshed! Would it not be more appropriate - and much easier!-to stop supporting terrorists in other countries and create havoc.If some people would do this in the USA, the Home Defense Act (passed last December) would certainly be brutally appleid by the US regime.So therefore the Panettas, clintons and othes should just consider the rightfull Government of Syria is applying their Home Defense Act! Anything against it Panetto?