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Lavrov: US anti-Syrian sanctions affecting Russian business interests

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Sept. 8, 2012, 4:43 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov
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Russky Island - The U.S. sanctions against Syria and Iran are affecting Russian business interests, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"The U.S. unilateral sanctions in relation to Syria and Iran are becoming increasingly more exterritorial and are directly affecting Russian business interests, particularly interests of Russian banks," Lavrov said following negotiations with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during an APEC summit on Russky Island off Vladivostok on Saturday.

Russia said "clearly enough" that such an approach is unacceptable to it, he said.

"We have been heard. I don't know what result this will lead to," Lavrov said.

He said allegations that Russia's position on Syria and Iran is dictated by mercantilist interests are a mistake.

"We do not have any particular business interests in Syria. The volume of our trade and economic interaction and military-technological cooperation is very modest compared to the trade and economic interests of our Western, primarily European, partners, not only in Syria but also in Libya," Lavrov said.

Russia does not support sanctions against Syria because they will not work, Lavrov said. To settle the crisis in the country, all players should influence the conflicting parties to make them sit at the negotiating table, he said.

"As far as I remember, the European Union has toughened its sanctions against Syria 18 times or so, and the U.S.' made its decision on unilateral sanctions not even informing us of this, not to mention that it did not consult with us," Lavrov said.

"They decided to act on their own, without us. And now, as more than a year and a half has passed and these unilateral sanctions are still not working, they are trying to accuse Russia, China and other countries not wishing to approve anti-Syrian sanctions [at the UN Security Council] that we are hampering some unity of the international community," Lavrov said.

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