Russia against allowing no-fly zone in Syria

Moscow, June 18 (IANS) Russia said Monday that it would not allow the imposition of a no-fly zone over the conflict-ravaged Syria and expressed surprise over Cairo severing ties with Damascus.

"Russia sees no necessity of introducing such measures and considers them counter-productive," reported Xinhua citing Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Alexander Lukashevich over the need to impose no-fly zone over Syria.

Citing example of Libya, where imposition of a no-fly zone in 2011 allowed NATO warplanes to help the rebels topple former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the Russian ministry opposed repeating that in Syria.

"We don't want a repetition of that in the Syrian conflict and we will not let that scenario to be implemented in principle," the spokesperson said while describing the attempts to impose the no-fly zone a "direct violation of international law".

The West's attempts to arm Syrian opposition would further delay the new Geneva conference, he warned.

"The latest developments and steps undertaken to arm Syrian opposition which leads to serious escalation of the tension in Syria and around, make it even more difficult to speak about the timing (of the conference) than it was a month ago," he said.

Reacting over Egypt's move to break relations with Syria, the Russian spokesperson said: "This, quite unexpected decision of the Egyptian leadership, would unlikely demonstrate Egypt's positive role in the regional efforts to settle the Syrian problem."

Stating that Russia perceives Cairo's move as a strange one, Lukashevich added Moscow was waiting for clarifications from Egypt over the decision.

On Sunday, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said his country had severed relations with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and closed its embassy in Damascus.

A Russia-US-UN tripartite meeting over the proposed international conference on Syria is scheduled June 25 in Geneva.

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