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[RT.com]

Published time: June 11, 2013 14:53
 
Russian President Vladimir Putin, far center, during his talk with Russia Today television channel's journalists and correspondents, June 11, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, far center, during his talk with Russia Today television channel’s journalists and correspondents, June 11, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

“Such methods are in demand. But you can’t just listen to the phone call in Russia; you need a special order from court. This is how this should be done in civilized society while tackling terrorism with the use of any technical means.  If it is in the framework of the law, then it’s ok. If not it is unacceptable,” Putin said answering the question of RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan. Commenting on Obama’s statement that “You can’t have 100 per cent security and 100 per cent privacy,” Putin disagreed, saying it is possible if done within the law.

Russia said it could consider the possibility of granting political asylum to 29-year-old Edward Snowden, if such request is made. The ex-CIA worker disclosed the existence of PRISM, the National Security Agency’s (NSA) massive data-mining surveillance program, to The Guardian.

“If we receive such a request, we will consider it,” President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

The whereabouts of whistleblower remain unknown after he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel. A day earlier Snowden revealed his identity to The Guardian newspaper.

‘Syria should have undertaken reform in due time’

Speaking about the conflict in Syria, the president said it was possible to avoid the civilian war by conducting reforms in due time.

“Syria as a country was rife for some kind of change. And the government of Syria should have felt that in due time and should have undertaken some reform,”
Putin said. “Had they done that, what we’re seeing in Syria today would have never happened.”

However, he added, one should take into account that the entire Middle East is currently finding itself in a state of uncertainty and conflict – and it’s wrong to try and interfere from outside.

“From the outside some people think that if you bring the entire region in compliance with someone’s specific idea of democracy, things will settle down, and everything will be all right in that region. But that’s not true. Considering that region’s background history, culture, religion – you cannot interfere with it from the outside.”

Putin pointed out that the West is supporting some certain organizations that are fighting Assad in Syria, and they are countering “those very same groups” in Mali.

Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

Vladimir Putin (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

“Where is the logic in that?” he said. “Our Western counterparts often tell us that the Al-Nusra is one of the key organizations in the Syrian military opposition. But it has been dubbed terrorist by the US Department of State, and it doesn’t even hide its links to Al-Qaeda. So will you let this organization join the future government of Syria? Our Western counterparts say no. Are you going to just make them go away once you have victory in Syria? They don’t know. It’s totally unclear.”

Putin reminded that the quality of life in Libya was one of the highest in the region before the regime change.

“What do you have there now? There is a war of everybody against everybody among various tribes, there is war for resources, and, I’m afraid, if we go the same way in Syria, there will be same havoc in Syria that we’re now witnessing in Libya,” he concluded. “Isn’t that enough from what we’re seeing in Pakistan and Afghanistan right now, where there’re terrorists that are not controlled by anyone, except for terrorists?”

Speaking about mass demonstrations, the president stressed that the government should control protesters, “put them put them in the legislative field,” if they “violate the law.”

“This is what happening both in the US and in Russia,” Putin said.

“Russia doesn’t try to influence Occupy activists, yet foreign agents try to do this in Russia,” he said, referring to the Occupy movement that initially started from protests in New York and then spread worldwide.

‘No doubt’ Iran is abiding by NPT

Iran should be entitled to pursue a non-military nuclear program, as long as it keeps in line with international law, the Russian President said.

Putin stressed he does not doubt that Iran is abiding by the treaty on nuclear arms non-proliferation.

“You don’t see proof of the contrary,” he said, also citing the recent IAEA report supporting his point.

That said, Iran should also take into account the concerns of the other countries in the region, as well as those of the international community, and refrain from threatening rhetoric, Putin believes.

Russia is willing to further cooperate with Iran, as long as it acts within the international mandates, the President said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, during his talk with Russia Today television channel's journalists and correspondents, June 11, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, during his talk with Russia Today television channel’s journalists and correspondents, June 11, 2013. (RIA Novosti / Michael Klimentyev)

Opposition should act in democratic way

Speaking about mass demonstrations, the President said that “any opposition is good, right and helpful” if it acts within the law.

He admitted that if people are not satisfied with the laws, the opposition should aim to change them in “democratic way.”

In case demonstrators break the law, the government should control protesters, “put them put them in the legislative field.”

“This is what’s happening both in the US and in Russia,” Putin said. “Though when we do that we are criticized, but when [United] States does, it is a norm. These are the so-called double standards,” he added.

Speaking about the United States and opposition movements, Putin stressed that it is not right that the State Department supports “opposition in Russia.”

“Russia doesn’t try to influence Occupy activists, yet foreign agents try to do this in Russia,” he said, referring to the Occupy movement that initially started from protests in New York and then spread worldwide.

‘Drones should be placed under control’

There is no stopping the drones, as combat tools are constantly improving – but their use should be controlled, the Russian President said.

“I doubt that it is possible to ban them all. But to place them under control, under certain laws is indeed possible, and necessary,” he said.

Putin believes the regulations of drone use should be worked out “to minimize – or, better, to nullify – accidental [civilian] deaths.”

It is, however, necessary to continue fighting terrorism, the President stressed.

The Russian president was visiting RT’s new Moscow broadcasting center, which opened last December. The 28,000 sq. m purpose-built facility is one of the biggest and best-equipped in the world.

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