Russia seeks punishment of Syria 'act of terror' culprits
Moscow, a key ally of the Assad regime, describes the killing of top Syrian regime officials as an "act of terrorism"
AFP , Wednesday 18 Jul 2012
Russia on Wednesday demanded the arrest and strict punishment of those behind a Damascus "act of terror" that killed three top Syrian security officials in a suicide bombing.
"We expect the organisers of the act of terror in Damascus to be identified and for them to face their deserved punishment," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.
"We see the events as another attempt to further destabilise the situation in Syria."Russia also called on both President Bashar al-Assad's government and the Syrian people to use the attack as a chance to reassess the situation and seek a peaceful compromise.
"We are certain that in the face of hardship, the authorities and the people of this country -- all its true patriots -- will display the required political will and desire to find a rapid peaceful settlement of their internal crisis."
The first attack against Assad's inner core came ahead of a showdown between the West and Russia over a UN Security Council resolution calling for sanctions that now appears to have been pushed back by a day to Thursday.
Russia has threatened to veto the resolution and proposed its own draft that does not provide for punitive measures against its Soviet-era ally while extending a current UN monitors mission there by another three months.
Western powers had refused to back Russia's initial proposal or an amended version submitted by Moscow at the United Nations on Tuesday. The UN Security Council vote had been scheduled for Wednesday until the Damascus attack.