| SOCHI, Russia, July 28
SOCHI, Russia, July 28 Russian Foreign Minister
Sergei Lavrov warned on Saturday that international support for
Syrian rebels would lead to "more blood" and the government
could not be expected to willingly give in to its opponents.
Lavrov, whose country has vetoed three U.N. Security Council
resolutions intended to increase pressure on Syria's government
to end 16 months of violence, said Western and Arab nations
should exert more influence on rebels to stop fighting.
He said "tragedy" could be imminent in the Syrian city of
Aleppo, but indicated rebels would be at least partly to blame.
"Pressure must be put on everyone," Lavrov said at a joint
news conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba
after talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, President Vladimir
Putin's summer base.
"Unfortunately, our Western partners prefer to do something
a bit different and essentially, along with some countries
neighbouring Syria, encourage, support and direct the armed
fight against the regime," he said.
"The price of all this is still more blood."
In the wake of the Security Council vetoes by Russia and
China, the United States has said it will seek ways to trackle
the crisis outside the U.N.
Gemba said it was "very serious moment" in Syria and it was
primarily up to the government to stop the bloodshed.
"The position of the Russian side has great influence, and
there is also the voice of the international community. We are
counting on a constructive Russian position," he said, speaking
through an interpreter.
Lavrov said Russia was calling on the government to "take
the first steps" but that the rebels should not take advantage
of any such government actions by occupying cities and towns.
"The city of Aleppo is occupied by the armed opposition and
the next tragedy is brewing there, as I understand it," he said.
"Well-armed opposition groups are occupying cities,
intending to create some sort of buffer zones for a transitional
government. How can one expect that the Syrian government will
say, 'Yes, go ahead, overthrow me,'" he said.
"This is unrealistic - not because we are holding onto the
regime but because it just doesn't work," he said.