MARCH 2 2012 19:29h
Russia: No military obligation to Syria
Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich, asked by reporters if Russia may provide military assistance to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad under terms of the 1980 Soviet-Syrian Friendship and Cooperation Treaty, said military force is not mandated under the pact, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.
"Russia is not going to do anything like this," he said, noting the treaty's Article 6 referring to Soviet support was about "the launch of a classical mechanism of consultations."
Article 6 states: "In case of situations threatening peace or security of one of the sides or peace and security worldwide, the High Contracting Parties will immediately engage in contact with each other to coordinate their positions and cooperate to overcome the emerged threat and restore peace."
The United Nations has said more than 7,500 Syrians have died in a yearlong government crackdown on activists calling for Assad to relinquish power. Syrian authorities blame the violence on thugs encouraged by foreign instigators and say more than 2,000 security and law enforcement personnel have been killed in clashes with the armed opposition forces.
Russia and China have twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions seeking to exert greater pressure on Syria to get Assad to leave his post.
MOSCOW, March 2 (UPI) -- Russia is not obligated by treaty to intercede militarily should Syria be invaded by a third party, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Friday.