Putin says regional revolts led to Algeria hostage situation
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that revolts in Syria and Libya had unleashed instability in the Middle East and Africa that had exacted a "tragic toll" in last week's militant attack on a gas plant in Algeria.

Putin and other Russian officials have said the United States and its NATO allies have sacrificed stability to their political ambitions in the Middle East and North Africa, often playing into the hands of radical Islamists.

Algerian militant leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar said his forces seized the In Amenas gas plant in the name in retaliation for France's offensive against his allies in neighbouring Mali. At least 38 workers were killed as Algerian troops stormed the remote gas complex.

While Russia backed a U.N. Security Council resolution in December authorising intervention to stop Mali falling to al Qaeda, it has blocked three resolutions on Syria and accused the West of over-stepping the mandate of a U.N. resolution on Libya that its abstention allowed to pass.

"The Syrian conflict has been raging for almost two years now. Upheaval in Libya, accompanied by the uncontrolled spread of weapons, contributed to the deterioration of the situation in Mali," Putin said.

Posted by: tipper 2013-01-24