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Interview: Chinese, Russian veto helps bolster reform, stability in Syria: presidential advisor

(Xinhua)

11:24, October 06, 2011

DAMASCUS, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The veto by Russia and China of a draft UN Security Council resolution that threatened sanctions against Syria will help bolster reforms and restore stability and security in Syria, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's advisor Buthaina Shabaan said Wednesday.

"Vetoing the draft resolution contributes to moving forward toward pluralism, democratic and political reforms (in Syria)," Shabaan told Xinhua.

Russia and China, two permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Tuesday vetoed a draft resolution, which would strongly condemn the Syrian authorities for "human rights violations" and threaten punitive measures against the country.

The draft resolution, presented by France, Germany, Portugal and Britain, won nine votes in favor in the 15-nation council. Four council members abstained in the vote.

"The sanctions approach is destructive not only to the governments but to the people and the coexistence alike," said Shabaan, suggesting that the concept of sanctions encourages terrorism.

Referring to the recent NATO operations in Libya and the U.S.- led invasion of Iraq, Shabaan said: "Their operations in Iraq and Libya indicated that the approach they had adopted is destructive. "

She added that tens of thousands of people were killed in Libya during NATO-led operations.

She pointed out that armed groups are targeting the intellectuals in Syria, comparing it to the situation in Iraq of the migration of professors and academics following the collapse of the Iraqi regime.

According to Syria's official media, nine prominent Syrian academics and professors were killed by armed groups over the past months. No one has taken responsibility for the killing. But Syria 's government and opposition are trading accusations against each other.

The unrest that has erupted in Syria in mid March began peacefully but gradually turned into violent acts targeting civilians, security agents and policemen. Violence has escalated recently and evoked painful feelings among all Syrians with mounting uncertainties over what would come next.

Shabaan said that the crisis in Syria has many facets, one of them related to the legitimate demands by the Syrian people for political, economic and social reforms.

"I think that the leadership in Syria has responded to the legitimate rights of the Syrian people and started to introduce new measures, including embarking on a national dialogue and forming a committee to rewrite the constitution, which would facilitate plural and free parliamentarian elections," said Shabaan.

She said that the problem with national dialogue is that "some Western parties are encouraging some opposition parties not to engage in a dialogue with the government."

Shabaan said that the government is in contact with all the opposition at home and keeps on inviting them to embark on a dialogue despite Western pressure on some of them to reject the dialogue.

The disturbances in Syria affect the Syrian people, she said, adding that "the West should help us implement reforms instead of punishing us ... because those sanctions affect the Syrians in the first place."

"They think not about the people, but rather about the oil and gas in addition to controlling the region," she commented.

Shabaan stressed that the existence of armed groups that aim to foment a sectarian strife is the "most difficult problem facing us today."

She said that these armed terrorists are trying to repeat the sectarian scenario of Iraq, adding that the government is making its utmost efforts to put an end to the armed groups' phenomena.

"Regretfully there are some Arab and Western countries that finance and arm these groups," said Shabaan, adding that such arming and financing represent a problem to Syria.

"What we need today is for the international community to stand by us to fight terrorism and stop the bloodletting," Shabaan stressed.

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China can spearhead the reconciliation process between Syrian government and opposition face-to face.
  

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