JNN 06 Dec 2012 Moscow : Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Western states are trying to advance democracy abroad through “iron and blood”, defending Moscow’s refusal to join states seeking the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Lavrov made the remarks on Saturday in Moscow during an address to a foreign and defense policy council meeting two days before Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Turkey where the unrest in Syria is expected to dominate talks, Reuters reported.
“Russia is not opposing Western influence or putting a stick in the spokes of Western-initiated projects out of spite,” Lavrov said, according to state-run news agency Itar-Tass.
“The fact is, advancing democracy through iron and blood just does not work, and this has been made clear in recent months — the past year-and-a-half,” he said.
He added “in most cases it produces the opposite reaction” and leads to “the strengthening of extremists and repressive forces, decreasing the chances of real democratic change.”
Moscow says Western and certain Persian Gulf states are encouraging rebels seeking the overthrow of Assad.
Russia says Assad’s exit from power cannot be imposed from abroad and has voiced concern extremists could gain the upper hand in Syria, further destabilizing the region.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, in a meeting with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, said the situation has been worsened by a “sharp increase in the activities of terrorist organizations” including Al-Qaeda.
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Gatilov also repeated Russia’s concern the conflict “is taking on a clearly expressed inter-religious element.”
Russia has denied it is propping up Assad but says it will not allow a repeat of what occurred last year in Libya.