Putin warns US against attacking Syria

Moscow, Sep 4 : Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned the US against attacking Syria without UN approval and pledged never to extradite former US intelligence employee Edward Snowden.

In an interview with Channel 1 TV and posted on the Kremlin web site Wednesday, Putin demanded that the Obama administration must get approval from the UN Security Council before acting against Syria.

"It must be presented to the UN Security Council if there is evidence that chemical weapons were used and by the government forces," he said ahead of a G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Xinhua reported.

Putin said Russia would take "decisive and serious action" vis-a-vis Syria if there was clear evidence of the use of mass destruction weapons.

But Russia would not engage in any conflict in other countries.

Putin noted that Russia had delivered some components of S-300 air defence system to Syria according to a previous contract "but the supplies have now been suspended".

As for Snowden, Putin said Russia would not extradite him to the US as the two countries did not have a pact on mutual extradition of criminals.

"The problem is not that we defended Snowden. We are not defending him in any way.

"The problem is that we and the US do not have an agreement on mutual extradition of criminals," said the Russian president.

Putin asserted that Moscow had invited Washington on numerous occasions to conclude such an agreement but the US had not responded.

"We cannot judge whether Snowden committed some crime in the US or not... But we, as a sovereign country having no such agreement with the US, can't do anything but provide him with the opportunity to stay here," he said.

He said Russia had not received and did not wish to obtain any secret information from Snowden.

--IANS (Posted on 04-09-2013)

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