MOSCOW, September 7 (Itar-Tass) —— Russia opposes the idea of tightening sanctions against Damascus, and it believes that Syria needs time to implement reforms, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov told Itar-Tass in an interview.
"We are convinced that it is the national political process, aimed at effectively meeting the legitimate aspirations of the population that is the only way out of crisis,” the diplomat said. “An alternative to this would be civil war, including the prospects of further disintegration of the country into several warring enclaves and destabilization of the entire region. Such developments should not be allowed," he said.
Bogdanov drew attention to the fact that the Syrian leadership had done a great deal to implement the announced reforms.
"The state of emergency has been lifted, the Supreme State Security Court abolished, a decree passed on the rights of citizens to demonstrate peacefully, the laws have entered force on general elections, on a multiparty system, on the local self-government and the media,” Bogdanov said. “In the first quarter of 2012 Syria is to hold parliamentary elections, the constitutional reform has been completed, an amnesty for political prisoners announcewd, and access opened to Syrian territory for humanitarian agencies."
"The Syrian authorities are ready to receive a delegation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights," said Bogdanov, who had visited the country on instructions from Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
The diplomat believes that now there are to be "vigorous steps" to implement reforms. "At the same time one must understand that to achieve such an ambitious program the Syrian leadership needs some temporal resource," said Bogdanov.
"In the meantime, the tightening of sanctions against Damascus would not help,” he warned. “The U.S. and the EU have already introdeuced severe sanctions against Syria, therefore, we oppose the western countries’ proposed draft resolution of the UN Security Council, which lays the blame for violence exclusively on one side - the Syrian authorities, ignoring the facts of armed attacks and provocations, being carried out by the extremist underground."
"In contrast to this approach we in cooperation with China have proposed a draft resolution which we believe could facilitate Syria’s exit from the crisis, and not continue to aggravate an already difficult situation," Bogdanov said.