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US trying to rope in India, China to isolate Russia

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Washington, March 29 (IANS) In a bid to isolate Russia over its annexation of Crimea, the US says it is talking with Moscow’s friends like India and China, but it has not yet asked them to impose any sanctions.

“Well, I don’t think we’re there yet. Obviously, we’ve been consulting very closely with the Europeans about sanctions,” State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters Friday when asked if the US was going to seek Iran-oil like sanction from countries outside NATO.

“We have been talking with other countries diplomatically, though,” she said noting that in the Security Council vote last weekend, “it was significant that China, for example, abstained and did not vote with Russia”.

“So, we are actively working on the diplomatic side to isolate Russia and that means with countries like China and India and others,” she said. “But on the oil part, we’re just not there yet.”

India has not directly criticised Moscow though when Russian President Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week to explain the Russian position, Singh, according to the external affairs ministry, “emphasised the consistent position India had on the issues of unity and territorial integrity of countries”.

Manmohan Singh also “expressed hope that all sides would exercise restraint and work together constructively to find political and diplomatic solutions that protected the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensured long term peace and stability in Europe and beyond.”

Back in Washington, in response to another question, Harf expressed disappointment over India abstaining from US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva.

“It is disappointing to us that India abstained from voting on this resolution when they voted yes for the last two years,” she said.

“We have made our disappointment known to Indian officials. Beyond that, I’d refer you to them in terms of how they voted,” Harf said.

The US resolution called for a probe into war crimes allegedly committed in the final stages of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Rejecting the resolution, India said it ignores the efforts at reconciliation being done by Sri Lanka in the predominantly Tamil north, including holding of elections.

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