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US to continue consultations with RF on sanctions against Syria

January 19, 2012, 7:04 UTC+3

“That sounds like fiction to me,” said Ms Nuland

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WASHINGTON, January 19 (Itar-Tass) — The United States will continue consultations with Russia both in the UN Security Council and bilaterally on drafting international sanctions against Syria, spokesperson for the US Department of State Victoria Nuland said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

She said that Washington’s position is that “as we made clear last week, we continue to believe that it is past due for the Security Council to make a strong statement, make our views known against the violence, and stand on the side of those wanting peaceful change in Syria. We are consulting this week on an appropriate resolution.”

According to her, “Those consultations we expect will continue through the week. We also expect that after the Arab League has a chance to evaluate its own mission, there’ll be input into the UN process from the Arab League as well. So we will continue to talk to the Russian federation about this in New York and bilaterally, but there’s more work to be done.”

In addition, the United States is expecting assessments that the League of Arab States (LAS) will make on January 20-21 regarding the work of its observers’ mission in Syria, Ms Nuland said. “We are looking forward to the Arab League meeting, which is January 20th and 21st over this weekend. Our understanding is that they will take stock of their mission, that they will make the report available, and that they will consolidate their views on next steps. We are consulting with the Arab League, as we made clear, individually. We’ve seen a number of the countries at high levels over the last couple of weeks. And as you know, we had – both Jeff Feltman and Deputy Secretary Burns have been in direct contact with Arab League headquarters in Cairo. So we look forward to the report and we look forward to working together on next steps after the weekend,” she said.

The diplomat categorically refused to clarify whether the United States believes that the LAS mission in Syria has proven useful, even if it not fully achieved its objectives. At the same time Nuland reiterated after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that, in the view of Washington, the LAS mission cannot be deployed in Syria indefinitely.

She also refuted reports that unmarked NATO planes that had been used in operations in Libya, now allegedly are dropping supplies for the Syrian opposition. “That sounds like fiction to me,” said Ms Nuland.

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