Russia, China warn West on Syria after Obama threats

MOSCOW Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:05pm IST

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, accompanied by his counterpart from Cyprus Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, attends a news conference in Moscow, July 25, 2012. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, accompanied by his counterpart from Cyprus Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, attends a news conference in Moscow, July 25, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov/Files

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West not to take unilateral action on Syria, saying that Russia and China agree that violations of international law and the United Nations charter are impermissible.

Russia and China have opposed military intervention in Syria throughout 17 months of bloodshed and have vetoed three U.N. Security Council resolutions backed by Western and Arab states that would raise pressure on Damascus to end violence.

Lavrov, cited by Russian news agencies at a meeting with China's top diplomat, was speaking a day after U.S. President Barack Obama, in some of his strongest language yet, said U.S. forces could move against President Bashar al-Assad if he deploys chemical weapons against rebels trying to overthrow him.

Russia and China base their diplomatic cooperation on "the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law and the principles contained in the U.N. Charter, and not to allow their violation," Interfax quoted Lavrov as saying at a meeting with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo.

"I think this is the only correct path in today's conditions," Lavrov said.

(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Patrick Graham)

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