May 21, 2013 | 06:04 PM (BD Time)
21 May, 2013 Tuesday
No talk on Syria’s post-Assad future: Russia
. AP, Moscow
Russia's foreign minister said Friday that Moscow isn't discussing Syria's future without President Bashar Assad as Washington has claimed.
Sergey Lavrov denied Thursday's statement by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland that Moscow and Washington "are continuing to talk about a post-Assad transition strategy."
Lavrov told a news conference following talks with his Iraqi counterpart that Russia believes it's up to the Syrians to determine their country's future and that foreign players shouldn't meddle in that.
"It's not true that we are discussing Syria's fate after Bashar Assad," Lavrov said. "We aren't dealing with a regime change either through approving unilateral actions at the United Nations Security Council nor through taking part in some political conspiracies."
He argued that an international conference on Syria that Russia has proposed should focus on persuading the Syrian parties to sit down for talks. He says that Russia is opposing any attempts to use the conference to predetermine Syria's future.
"This meeting should be aimed at mobilizing resources that foreign players have to create conditions needed to start an all-Syrian political process, not to predetermine its direction."
He warned against using the conference to "justify any future unilateral actions."
Russia, along with China, has twice shielded Syria, its last remaining ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions over Assad's violent crackdown on protests that have left 13,000 people dead according to opposition groups.
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