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Russia FM slams threat of sanctions against Ukraine

English.news.cn   2014-02-21 07:19:20

BAGHDAD, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized on Thursday the West's threat to impose sanctions on Ukraine as a blackmail and double standards.

"The opposition cannot or do not want to distance itself from extremists. The West led by Europe and the United States assume all responsibility for Ukraine situation," Lavrov said in a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart Hoshyar Zebari during his official visit to Baghdad.

"They do not blame the extremists' acts, while threaten to impose sanctions. These are double standards," Lavrov said, adding "these sanctions encourage rioters."

"The EU also wants to impose sanctions and sending missions to Ukraine, such actions can be seen as blackmail," he said.

He also said that "we are deeply concerned about the events in Ukraine and worried about the attempts of influencing the situation in the country."

Lavrov pointed out that his country stresses on the need to discuss the situation between the Ukrainians themselves in an internal dialogue without interference from others.

As for other issues, Lavrov expressed his country's support for the Iraqi government in combating terrorism and called for collective international efforts to fight the terrorist groups.

"There must be joint international efforts to combat this evil (terrorism) collectively," Lavrov said, adding his country supports the Iraqi government and international efforts to combat terrorism.

"We consolidate the Iraqi people in facing terrorism and we support the approach of the Iraqi leadership in taking all necessary measures to stabilize the country," Lavrov said.

Arming the Iraqi forces was the focus of the discussions, Zebari told reporters, saying they discussed aircraft equipment and other technical equipment.

"We have long-term armament contracts with the Russian side, and we have been promised to speed up delivery of urgent arms to help Iraqi forces to confront the terrorism," he said.

Earlier in the day, Lavrov arrived in Baghdad on an official one-day visit, during which he and his accompanying delegation were received by the Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki in his office in Baghdad. The two sides discussed a range of "bilateral and regional issues, in particular the need for political solutions for the Syrian crisis, as well as means to fight terrorism," said a statement by Maliki office.

Maliki stressed Iraq's desire to cooperate with Russia to defeat terrorism, while emphasizing Iraq's need for weapons that are "specialized in fighting and chasing terrorist groups," as well as its interest in "exchanging security information."

The meeting comes at a time when Iraq is witnessing its worst violence in recent years, as militant insurgents launch nearly daily attacks and bombings on security forces and civilians.

Baghdad had signed weapons contracts with Russia worth more than 4.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2012, making Moscow Baghdad's biggest arms supplier after Washington.

Lavrov's visit to Iraq is the second for the top Russian diplomat to the country since the toppling of former president Saddam Hussein by a U.S.-led invasion in 2003. His last visit to the country was in May 2011.

Editor: Yang Lina
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