Russia To End New Weapons Sales To Syria
However, the two countries will continue with previously agreed exports, the Associated Press reported. Russia’s repeated effort to block the U.N. Security Council from taking aggressive action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has put it at odds with the West.
Russia is seen as the Assad regime’s primary arms supplier, providing Syria’s army with spare parts and repairing weapons supplied earlier, according to the AP. Syrian activists say about 14,000 people have been killed since the uprising began March 2011.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague praised Russia’s decision, but added he “would like to see a halt of all deliveries of weaponry to a regime that has embarked on the killing of so many of its own people.”
U.S. State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said he is still seeking further clarification from Moscow.
"We've expressed our belief that continued arms sales to the regime will only further throw flames on the fire, so we want them to stop all arms transfers, not only existing contracts but any new contracts as well," Ventrell said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow is still committed to a peace plan put forth by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, according to Voice of America.
"I am convinced that we must do everything possible to force the conflicting sides to find a peaceful political solution to all the disputed issues," Putin said.