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Belarus denies planning to sell weapons to Syria

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Sept. 20, 2012, 1:42 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Reuters

Belarus on Thursday, Sept. 20, denied trying to sell weapons to Syria and violating a U.N. Security Council resolution after the United States imposed sanctions on a Belarussian state-owned firm.
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Reuters

MINSK - Belarus on Thursday, Sept. 20, denied trying to sell weapons to Syria and violating a U.N. Security Council resolution after the United States imposed sanctions on a Belarussian state-owned firm.

"All the accusations of the American side... have no basis and are untrue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh said. Syria is embroiled in civil war with President Bashar al-Assad battling an insurgency that grew out of popular protests.

The U.S. Treasury said on Wednesday it was designating Syria's Army Supply Bureau and Belarus-based weapons company Belvneshpromservice as contributing to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

In March 2011, the Army Supply Bureau prepared to receive possible fuses for general purpose aerial bombs from Belvneshpromservice, according to the Treasury.

"This is nothing more than an attempt to put pressure on Belarus for its open and principled stance in support of a peaceful resolution of Syria's internal conflict," Savinykh told reporters.

"Belarus always follows the U.N. Security Council resolutions. The United States' unilateral sanctions go against the spirit of constructive interaction between nations."

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has long been at odds with the West, which accuses him of being intolerant of dissent and violating human rights.

In power since 1994, Lukashenko has traditionally sided with Russia on international policy issues. Russia has been an important ally and arms supplier to the Syrian government.

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