“Will we be helping Syria? We will”, Vladimir Putin said at a press conference following the G20 summit in St. Petersburg on Friday. The US and other countries will put themselves outside the law if they launch a military operation in Syria, Putin added.
“I presume that everything concerning the so-called use of chemical weapons is a provocation on the part of the fighters, who expect assistance from the outside, I mean assistance from the countries that have supported them from the very start. This is the essence of this provocation,” Putin said.
“The use of force on a sovereign state is only possible if it is done in self-defense and, as we know, Syria is not attacking the US, or under a decision made by the UN Security Council,” he continued.
“As one participant in our discussion said, those who act otherwise put themselves outside the law”, said Putin.
“At this time, which is generally difficult for the world economy, it would be counterproductive to destabilize the situation in the Middle East, to say the least,” Putin added.
The United States, Turkey, Canada, Saudi Arabia and France supported a military operation against Syria, while Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy opposed the option at the G20 summit, President Vladimir Putin said.
“You said the vote was 50/50. This is not quite so and I can tell you who was in favor of military operations. As you know, these are the United States, Turkey, Canada, Saudi Arabia and France,” he responded to a journalist who suggested that the G20 were divided approximately 50/50 over the need for a military strike on Syria.
Putin ent on to say “Categorical objections were raised by Russia, China, India and Indonesia and I would like to call your attention to the fact that this is the world’s largest Islamic country, in terms of population, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy”.
The Russian leader had not forgotten that British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke for a military intervention in Syria but the national parliament voted down the proposition.
“The German Federal Chancellor is also extremely cautious. Germany is not going to get involved in any military operations,” Putin said.
He said that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opposed military operations against Syria, too. Putin also said he was surprised with the positions of certain G20 states on Syria.
“The Indian prime minister unexpectedly said last night that he was categorically against any military operation. The position of the President of Indonesia, which is the largest Islamic country in the world with a population of, I think, 350 million, came as a surprise to me. The Brazilian President took an absolutely firm stand and the South African President did, too,” the Russian leader said.
Vladimir Putin also said he had a conversation with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg.
According to Putin, the short dialogue was friendly, although they agreed to differ on certain issues.
“This was a very substantive, constructive and friendly conversation. At least it took place in a friendly atmosphere. Each of us stuck to our opinions but dialogue exists,” Putin said at a press conference following the G20 summit.
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