NEW YORK, September 12 (Itar-Tass) - Russia has advocated peaceful dialogue between the various parties to the Syrian conflict right from the moment that violence broke out in that Arab country, President Vladimir Putin says in an article published by The New York Times.
“We are not protecting the Syrian government, but international law,” he says. “We need to use the United Nations Security Council and believe that preserving law and order in today’s complex and turbulent world is one of the few ways to keep international relations from sliding into chaos.”
“The law is still the law, and we must follow it whether we like it or not,” Putin says. “Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.”
Putin stresses the absence of doubts that poison gas was used in Syria, saying however “there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists.”
“Reports that militants are preparing another attack — this time against Israel — cannot be ignored,” he says.
“It is alarming that military intervention in internal conflicts in foreign countries has become commonplace for the United States,” Putin writes and asks with a note of rhetoric: is it in America’s long-term interest?
“I doubt it,” he says. “Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan “you’re either with us or against us.”
“But force has proved ineffective and pointless,” Putin says. “Afghanistan is reeling, and no one can say what will happen after international forces withdraw. Libya is divided into tribes and clans. In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day.”
“In the United States, many draw an analogy between Iraq and Syria, and ask why their government would want to repeat recent mistakes,” the article says.
“No matter how targeted the strikes or how sophisticated the weapons, civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect,” Putin says.
“We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement,” he writes.
“A new opportunity to avoid military action has emerged in the past few days,” Putin says. “The United States, Russia and all members of the international community must take advantage of the Syrian government’s willingness to place its chemical arsenal under international control for subsequent destruction.”
“Judging by the statements of President Obama, United States sees this as an alternative to military action,” he says.