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LOUGH ERNE, June 18 (Itar-Tass) - Russia calls on Europe to think twice before selling arms to the Syrian opposition, since these weapons might be brought to Europe in the long run, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at a news conference after the Group of Eight summit.
“Arms supplies may be different,” Putin said. “We supply arms to the legitimate government under legitimate contracts. It is the Assad government. And as long as we sign such contracts we shall supply arms under them.”
As for the European partners, Putin said, “We are in the United Kingdom, where an awful tragedy shocked the British people not long ago, when a British serviceman was foully murdered near his barracks. I would like to note that there are very many such criminals who committed this murder among the opposition fighters. Do Europeans want to supply arms to these people? What would become with these weapons and in whose hands they would finally be? These weapons might finally emerge in Europe. That is why we call on our partners to think twice before making this dangerous step.”
According to the Russian leader, the Syrian crisis was discussed not at the bilateral Russian-US meeting but at the G8 summit. “Obviously, the bulk of responsibility rests with Russia and the United States. We have agreed that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will undertake the key burden of responsibility for the preparation of basic principles of the Syrian settlement,” Putin stressed. “The most important thing is that we believe that the bloodshed must be stopped the soonest possible. We have agreed that peace and accord must be established by means of political efforts of the parties, we have agreed that the rights of all ethnic religious groups in Syria must be ensured thanks to these efforts.”
Concerning the use of chemical weapons, according to Putin, it was agreed that any use of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical weapons, must be condemned. Final conclusions on the use of chemical weapons in Syria could be drawn “only on the basis of all facts of the use of such weapons,” Putin stressed.