Lavrov: No-fly zone in Syria would be illegal

June 15, 2013 at 4:12 PM
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MOSCOW, June 15 (UPI) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, saying he doubts Syria has used chemical weapons, warned Saturday that a no-fly zone would violate international law.

Lavrov spoke to reporters after a meeting with Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Emma Bonino, RIA Novosti reported. President Obama said Friday the United States plans to provide arms to the Syrian rebels, arousing speculation he would also push for a Syrian no-fly zone.

"You don't have to be a great expert to realize that this will be a violation of international law. We hope our American colleagues will direct all their practical activity into implementing a joint U.S.-Russian initiative to convene a conference devoted to improving the situation in Syria," Lavrov said.

In a statement Friday, Lavrov suggested that U.S. military aid to the rebels would simply increase the level of violence in Syria. On Saturday, he said the government of President Bashar Assad might actually use chemical weapons.

"Right now the regime is not against the wall; the regime, as the opposition itself is saying, is seeing military success on the ground," he said. "Why would the regime use chemical weapons, especially in such small quantities? Just to expose itself? From a military point of view, it makes no sense."

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