Russia to grill Washington on Mideast policy


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Russia queries US military role in ME

MOSCOW, Jan 27: Russia expects the United States to explain its growing military
presence in the Middle East when the countries next meet to discuss the region, 
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Russian news agencies on Saturday.

³I have seen no change in Washington's fairly aggressive rhetoric,² Mr Lavrov 
said. ³It continues, just like its actions to increase the military presence in 
the region. It will be one of the questions which we want to clarify in 
Washington. What's it all about?²

Mr Lavrov also said unilateral US sanctions against Iran would be 
counterproductive to efforts to resolve the problem of Iran's nuclear ambitions 
and would force Tehran out of the negotiating process.

Instead, he said, Iran and Syria should understand that they were expected to 
play a positive role and that in return they would receive an appropriate 
position in the regional dialogue.

³We are deeply convinced that Iran and Syria should not be isolated but brought 
into the peace process,² said Mr Lavrov, speaking on his return from a visit to 
India with President Vladimir Putin.

³In general, the problems that exist in the Middle East and in the surrounding 
region are linked to muddle-headed ideas about prestige.

Someone says something once and from then on he can't break with this principle.
This is an inflexible policy, and it's short-sighted.²‹Reuters

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