CNN "censors" Russian ambassador to UN

CNN has dropped from its interview with Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin his "appeal for the need to take into account the will of the Syrian people."

Source: ITAR-TASS, Voice of Russia
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Churkin said that the Syrian people "mostly support President Bashar al-Assad," and that the Syrian opposition was "stonewalling humanitarian activities" - but these statements were edited out of the interview aired by the U.S. network, ITAR-TASS reported.

The final version of the interview, conducted by Christiane Amanpour, "lacks Churkin's answers to some key questions, one of which was about Assad's role after the start of the transition period," Voice of Russia reported.

"This is for Syrians to decide", Churkin said in the full version, which has been posted on the website of the Russian mission to the United Nations.

According to Churkin, "the reality is that many Syrians, in fact the better part of the Syrian population, back up President Assad, and this should also be taken into account. So, let's launch a dialogue and make it possible for Syrians to make their own choice of the path towards ending the conflict."

CNN also edited out Churkin's remarks that "any preconditions by the Syrian opposition for the Geneva-2 conference are inadmissible."

The Russian diplomat "deplored the fact in a conversation with the ITAR-TASS news agency that CNN had broadcast a downsized version of his interview," and said that those were "the more acute issues" of a Syrian settlement.

Churkin also said that there was "leverage over Damascus concerning humanitarian issues, but nobody knows who actually influences the hundreds or at least dozens of armed groups preventing humanitarian aid from reaching the Syrian population."

"We must find out what these countries are, and they should assume responsibility for settling problems with the groups in question so the latter will not hinder the evacuation of the population from besieged areas. The opposition has prevented the evacuation of people from such areas on several occasions in recent months, whereas the government in Damascus was prepared to move people out", the Russian ambassador said.

Another "curious fact that had also been dropped from the broadcast version of the interview" was Churkin's statement that "each time that the population leaves a besieged area, they move to territories under Syrian government control".

"I think this speaks volumes about who the population pin their hopes on as regards the provision of humanitarian assistance", the diplomat said.

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