Saudi urges Russia to 'advise' Syria to end bloodshed

AFP , Monday 5 Mar 2012

Saudi Arabia asks china and Russia to advise Al-Assad regime to stop bloodshed in Syria

Saud al-Faisal
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal speaks at a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting in Riyadh March 4, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Sunday urged Moscow to "advise" its ally Syria to stop its deadly crackdown against dissent.

"Unfortunately, international efforts have failed and we have not seen results to stop the bloodshed and massacres in Syria," he told a news conference in the Saudi capital.

"Syria's friends should advise them to stop the killings. We hope that Russia and others will advise them... we want freedom for the Syrian people," he said.

Prince Saud made the remarks after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to discuss their economies and the conflict in Syria ahead of an expected meeting with their Russian counterpart.

Last month Saudi King Abdullah told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that dialogue on Syria was "futile," according to the official SPA news agency.

Russia should have "coordinated with the Arabs... before using the veto" to jointly block a resolution on Syria with China in the UN Security Council, the monarch was quoted as saying.

Moscow and Beijing have twice vetoed Security Council resolutions condemning President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on dissent, triggering the frustration of world powers.

Saudi Arabia has taken a strong stance against the escalating bloodshed and along with its five GCC partners last month expelled Syrian envoys and withdrew their own over the "mass slaughter" of civilians.

Prince Saud also defended the right of the Syrian opposition to arm itself.

"It is the right of the Syrians to arm themselves in order to defend themselves. Weapons used to target homes are used in wars with enemies," he said.

Last month the Saudi foreign minister said at an international conference on Syria in Tunisia that he backed the idea of arming the Syrian opposition.

King Abdallah had previously called for "critical measures" to be taken on Syria, warning of an impending "humanitarian disaster."

More than 7,500 people have been killed across Syria since anti-regime protests erupted in March 2011, according to estimates.

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