“The Syrian people are proud of their dignity and sovereignty and refuse all sorts of foreign interference in their affairs,” according to the statement.
Syria also said it would not object to extending an Arab League mission to monitor its compliance with a peace plan, but will not accept an expansion in the scope of its mandate, an Arab source announced on Tuesday.
“The outcome of the contacts that have taken place over the past week between the Arab League and Syria have affirmed that Syria will not reject the renewal of the Arab monitoring mission for another month... if the Arab Foreign Ministers call for this at the coming meeting,” the source said.
The mission’s mandate expires today, and Arab League Foreign Ministers are set to discuss its future when they meet on 22 January.
In the meantime, Russia, which has been criticized for its sale of weapons to Syria, has no intention to justify its actions to the United States, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
Lavrov spoke after a Russian-operated ship carrying what a Cypriot official said was ammunition arrived in Syria last week from St. Petersburg after being held up in Cyprus.
The United States said it had raised concerns about the ship with Russia.
“We don’t consider it necessary to explain ourselves or justify ourselves, because we are not violating any international agreements or any (U.N.) Security Council resolutions,” Lavrov told an annual news conference.
The U.S. envoy to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Tuesday that the United States had “very grave concern about arms flows into Syria from any source.”
Russia, which along with China blocked a U.N. Security Council resolution in October that threatened an arms embargo on Syria, says an embargo would cut off supplies to the government while enabling armed opponents to receive weapons illegally.
Russia, a permanent veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council, will reject any use of sanctions or deployment of troops to Syria, Lavrov added.
Lavrov indicated that Russia would use its U.N. Security Council veto to block any proposals for military intervention in Syria, following a suggestion by Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to send in Arab troops.
Moscow still maintains close ties with Damascus and a naval base in the Syrian port of Tartus.
Source: Al Arabiya & Agencies; Photo: Reuters