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Russia ties arms shipment to Syrian aid

Feb. 11, 2014 at 9:12 AM   |   Comments

MOSCOW, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Local cease-fires in Syria should be part of a humanitarian equation under consideration at negotiations in Switzerland, Russia's foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday it was time to stop the transfer of illegal arms into Syria, state news agency RIA Novosti said.

The Syrian Arab Red Crescent was able to get aid into Homs during the weekend as part of a U.N.-led effort to get humanitarian assistance to those trapped by conflict. Lavrov was quoted as saying "local cease-fires" should be part of this equation.

Russia is among the largest arms suppliers to the Syrian government. The Kremlin defends the sales by saying it is honoring existing weapons contracts, not brokering new ones.

Russia, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has blocked draft resolutions meant to censure the Syrian government for its actions during the conflict. A draft resolution meant to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, he said, was "far from reality," the news agency reported.

Lavrov said the humanitarian measure may be a precursor to a possible military intervention in Syria. The resolution expressed concern about attacks against humanitarian workers and condemns Syria's efforts to thwart assistance.

So-called Geneva II talks aimed to finding a political solution to the Syrian civil war resumed Monday.

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