- MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Russia
will take Syria's side if charges against Syrian officials with involvement
in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri cause
a conflict between the United States and Syria, two Russian parliamentary
members said Tuesday.
- "If Russia is to choose between its two strategic
allies, it will undoubtedly take Syria's side," said Shamil Sultanov,
a coordinator of an inter-faction association, Russia and the Islamic World:
A Strategic Dialogue.
- Nikolai Leonov, a member of parliament's security committee,
who had recently visited Syria along with Sultanov and other MPs, said
it was primarily beneficial for the U.S. to accuse Syria of murdering Hariri.
"Indeed, Syria is an excellent oil corridor with access to deep-water
Mediterranean ports. Besides, this is a good pretext to distract the world
community's attention from the events in Iraq," the MP said.
- Leonov said earlier that he was concerned that Syria
could face the Iraqi scenario.
- In October, an international commission chaired by Detlev
Mehlis delivered a report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members
of the Security Council suggesting that high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese
officials had been involved in the February 14 killing of former Lebanese
Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Syria said the report was politically motivated