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Middle East, North Africa live through deep crisis - Russia defense minister

"Modern problems, including settlement of conflicts, cannot be solved with use of force," Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shoigu says

KHUDZHAND (Tajikistan), April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. The situation in the Middle East and North Africa requires close attention, as these regions are living through a deep crisis, Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shoigu said at a meeting of the defence ministers of the member-countries of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) in this Tajik city on Tuesday.

“Developments in the Middle East and North Africa require our close attention. We witness a deep crisis in these regions and if we do not ward off threats coming from the region they will also affect other countries adjacent to this highly volatile zone,” Shoigu said. Notably, he noted that the situation in Syria remained tense, as Western countries and Arab monarchies give aid, including the military one, to Syrian opposition.

“Transfer of Syrian chemical weapons under international control allowed alleviating a threat of military operation by Western countries against that country. However, appeals for use of force are still made,” the Russian minister noted. He noted that military interference in Syrian conflict was fraught with disastrous aftermath for the whole region. Shoigu recalled about negative consequences of “the latest intervention in Libya.” “Disruption of state administration system in the country resulted in tougher clan fight for access to revenues yielded from hydrocarbon export and intensification of Islamic extremist organisations,” the Russian defense minister said. He recalled that terrorists had seized a large amount of weapons and ammunition at military warehouses of the former Libyan army and today these weapons had already fallen in the hands of other regional countries. “Militants who were fighting in Libya are also infiltrating there. According to our information, they give aid to their likeminded fellows in Tunisia, Algeria, Mali, Egypt and Syria. These facts show brightly that modern problems, including settlement of conflicts, cannot be solved with use of force,” Shoigu stated. He noted that there was no alternative to attaining accord in political and diplomatic ways with all parties concerned involved. “We believe that these issues should be in the focus of constant attention of the SCO defence agencies ,” the Russian defence minister added.

Shoigu also stated that the Russian Defense Ministry had supported fully China’s initiative to create a SCO anti-terrorism centre.