Moscow says priority in Syria to avert US-Russia conflict 

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia(L) talks with Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari (R) during a UN Security Council meeting on April 10, 2018
AFP

United Nations (United States) (AFP) – Russia’s UN ambassador said Thursday that the priority in Syria was to avert US-led military strikes that could lead to a dangerous war between Russia and the United States.

“The immediate priority is to avert the danger of war,” Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters following a closed-door meeting of the Security Council.

Asked if he was referring to a war between the United States and Russia, he said: “We cannot exclude any possibilities unfortunately because we saw the messages that were coming from Washington.”

“They know we are there, I hope, I wish there was dialogue through appropriate channels on this to avert any dangerous developments.”

Nebenzia said: “We hope there will be no point of no-return.”

The Security Council met behind closed doors at the request of Bolivia, a supporter of Russia, to discuss the threat of military action against Syria in response to an alleged chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Douma.

Russia has told the United States that it will not allow its troops on the ground in Syria to be put at risk by military action, even though the two countries have contacts to avoid such direct confrontation.

Sweden earlier circulated a draft resolution on sending a high-level disarmament mission to Syria to address the threat from chemical weapons “once and for all.”

But the proposal appeared to gain little traction, according to diplomats who said the United States, Britain and France were not supportive of the proposal.

Nebenzia said he will call for an open meeting of the council to be held soon and to allow UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to address the crisis over possible military action.

He described the situation as “very dangerous” and accused some council members, which he did not name, of refusing to discuss the threat of military action.

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