ISTANBUL, December 3 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the West against repeating the Libyan scenario in Syria.
“We are not defenders or lawyers of the Syrian regime. There is something else we are concerned with – what is in store for us. We do not the mistakes made in the recent past to be repeated,” Putin said at a press conference after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday, December 3.
He recalled “how actively the Western community supported rebels in Libya”.
“Who could have thought at that time that these same people would bring the situation to a tragedy and kill the U.S. ambassador?” he asked rhetorically. And summed up: “Before a step is taken, one should think about what may happen after it.”
Putin said he had “actively discussed this issue with the Turkish friends” and noted that it “needs more thinking”.
“We will work persistently with Turkey and the entire international community to solve this problem,” he added.
“Russia and Turkey have so far not been able to come to agreement on how to settle the conflict in Syria, but their assessments of the situation are identical,” Putin said after the talks.
They also have agreed on “what kind of situation we should achieve”.
“We have so far not been able to finds a common stance on how to achieve these goals and how to resolve the problem,” Putin said.
He stressed that Russia and Turkey would continue their joint efforts to achieve a settlement in Syria.
Putin said on Monday, December 3, that the relevant instructions have been given to the Russian and Turkish foreign ministries.
“We will continue joint work with Turkey on the Syrian settlement, and relevant instructions have been given to the heads of the foreign ministries,” he added.
Putin said the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey will not ease tensions on the Turkish-Syrian border and called for restraint.
“If at the start of a play there is a rifle on the wall, it will fire by all means in the end,” Putin said, commenting on a possible deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey in response to Syrian attacks.
“Why should we need unnecessary shooting on the border?” he asked. “We share Turkey’s concern about events on the border but we call for restraint because the creation of additional [military capabilities] does not ease tensions,” Putin said.
“We are a guarantor of what happens in region but I am convinced, and you understand this clearly, that Syria has more urgent things to deal with than attack its neighbours. They cannot sort things out themselves,” the president said.
“What is happening on the Syrian-Turkish border, involving attacks on Turkish territory, is a pure incident,” he said.
“You and we understand, and one does not have to be a specialist or even use intelligence to understand that Syria has more urgent things to deal with than attack its neighbours,” Putin said.
“But there is no doubt that we all must try to stop the violence,” he added.
Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said earlier that the deployment of Patriot missiles in Turkey “is a matter of concern to Russia and does not help stabilise the already shaky situation” in the region.
Putin also appeared to be surprised by a question about Syria’s nuclear weapons.
“Are you kidding? Does Syria have nuclear weapons? This is probably an incorrect translation. The translation was: are there guarantees that Syria will not use nuclear weapons?” Putin said with surprise.
“Syria is not a nuclear power and is not even close to possible production of weapons of mass destruction,” the president said.