8 March 2012 — Xinhua News Agency
Russia accuses Libya of training Syrian rebels
UNITED NATIONS: Russia on Wednesday accused Libya of training Syrian rebels who are fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, saying that “this is completely unacceptable.”
The accusation came as Vitaly Churkin, the Russian permanent representative to the United Nations, was speaking at an open meeting of the UN Security Council on Libya.
“We have received information that in Libya, with the support of the authorities, there is a special training center for the Syrian revolutionaries and people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government,” Churkin said.
“This is, according to international law, completely unacceptable,” the Russian ambassador told the 15-nation council. “Furthermore, this kind of activity is undermining efforts to maintain stability in the Middle East region.”
Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib was present at the council meeting, which started here on Wednesday afternoon.
“Taken into consideration the fact that al-Qaeda is active in the territory of Syria, a question arises: Is there a chance that an export of revolution could become an export of terrorism?” Churkin said.
The new Libyan authorities should concentrate on the domestic problems of the North African country, rather than training Syrian rebels who are battling Syrian government forces, Churkin said.
Last month, Libya, one of the first foreign countries to recognize the Syrian opposition – the Syrian National Council – as the legitimate authority of Syria in October last year, said that it would donate 100 million U.S. dollars in humanitarian aid to the Syrian opposition and allow them to open an office in its capital of Tripoli.
The Syrian government has repeatedly accused some Arab and Western countries of funneling weapons to armed groups in Syria in addition to rendering financial assistance to them. It said in December 2011 that “armed terrorist groups” had killed more than 2,000 army and security personnel.
The United Nations said recently that “well over” 7,500 people have died in Syria’s violence since March last year.
Countries such as Russia and China, have maintained that a political solution is the best option to the Syrian crisis, warning against any foreign intervention of Syria’s internal affairs.
Press TV March 8, 2012
Russia accuses Libya of training Syrian rebels This is completely unacceptable…This activity is undermining stability in the Middle East.”
The Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin has accused Libya of training and arming the Syrian rebels in their fight against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Russian envoy made the remarks during a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday.
“We have received information that in Libya, with the support of the authorities, there is a special training center” for the Syrian rebels “and people are sent to Syria to attack the legal government,” Churkin said.
“This is completely unacceptable…This activity is undermining stability in the Middle East,” he added.
The accusation comes after a document recently released by the whistleblower website, Wikileaks, revealed that undercover US-led NATO forces were operating inside Syria against the Syrian government.
According to the confidential document, an analyst working for the US-based intelligence firm, Stratfor, claimed that in December last year he had attended a meeting in the Pentagon where he learned that US-led NATO troops were already on the ground in Syria, training armed rebels.
President Assad said on Tuesday that foreign forces were seeking to undermine the Syrian government.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011. The violence has claimed the lives of hundreds of people, including many security forces.
Damascus blames ‘outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups’ for the unrest, asserting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
The West and the Syrian opposition, however, accuse the government of killing protesters.
The United States and a number of other Western countries, including the UK and France, as well as countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have supported measures against the Syrian government.