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Harper slams Putin on support for Syrian regime

Prime Minister Harper has taken a hard line with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue of Syria. His recent comments at the G8 summit in Enniskillen Northern Ireland, are telling of the tough conversations ahead.

Harper has been extremely critical of Putin’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, which the Americans say have been using chemical weapons on their own citizens.

President Putin is angry at the United State’s recent commitment to send weapons to the Syrian rebels fighting the Assad regime. Putin made mention of an incident caught on film last month allegedly showing a Syrian rebel commander eating the organs of a dead opponent, and asked the United States to reconsider their commitment to send weapons.

"Are these [rebels] the people you want to support? Are they the ones you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to the humanitarian values preached in Europe for hundreds of years, Putin told Reuters reporters.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Harper did not beat around the bush when speaking with reporters in Dublin, June 16th. He made mention the discussion in the G8 Summit in regards to the issue of Syria would see the Russian President as the odd man out.

"Look, I think that dialogue will be interesting. I think it's important to have that kind of dialogue, but I don't think we should fool ourselves. This is G7 plus one. OK, let's be blunt. That's what this is, G7 plus one, said Harper.”

Prime Minister Harper then said noted that the Russian President’s views may differ as he is trying to protect his own interests, but made it clear Putin is aware of Harper’s disagreement on this issue.

"We in the West have a very different perspective on this situation. Mr. Putin and his government are supporting the thugs of the Assad regime for their own reasons that I do not think are justifiable and Mr. Putin knows my view on that."

It is important for leaders of liberal democracies to openly condemn acts of violence from other governments as it strengthens their own democracies.  Ctv news reports the Canadian government will pledge $90 million in humanitarian aid to Syria over the next year.

93,000 people have died in Syria since the conflict began two years ago.



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