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MOSCOW, October 17 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov praised the League of Arab States’ efforts on Syria.
He had a telephone conversation with LAS Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby on Monday, October 17.
“In the light of an extraordinary meeting of the LAS Council of Ministers in Cairo on October 16, El-Araby confirmed the League’s position in favour of settlement in Syria without foreign interference in its internal affairs, through a broad national dialogue,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Lavrov noted “the great importance of the efforts and role of the League of Arab States in fostering the dialogue and stressed Russia’s commitment to the need for the Syrians to find solutions to their internal problems on the basis of consensus and a programme of political and socio-economic reforms in the interests of all people”, the ministry said.
Russia continues to object to possible U.N. sanctions against Syria, a source in the presidential press service said earlier.
The Kremlin stressed that Russia’s position has not changed. “We urge the Syrian leadership to consistently carry out the reforms it has declared,” the source said.
“We remain critical about possible sanctions against Syria,” he said, adding that the United States and the European Union have already imposed sanctions against that country.
“The main question is to implement consistently the reforms [President Bashar] by al-Asad, stop violence and prevent casualties,” the source said.
Questioning the legitimacy of Syrian President Bashar al-Asad would be pointless and destructive and will only push the country to civil war, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said earlier.
“Urging the authorities to encourage democratisation is one thing. But if someone has set himself the goal to topple the regime, that’s something different,” he said.
“Many politicians state that Bashar al-Asad has lost his legitimacy. These statements are unconstructive because if this is how the question is put, it is hard to expect the ‘illegitimate’ leaders to take legitimate action and the opponents of the regime to foster dialogue with the illegitimate leadership,” the diplomat said.
“In our opinion, putting the question this way is absolutely pointless and destructive and will basically push the country and society to a civil conflict, including with the use of force, which may have very bad consequences,” Bogdanov said.
President Dmitry Medvedev sent a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier, urging the authorities and the opposition to stop violence and start declared reforms in the country.
“In the course of the conversation, while discussing the situation in Syria, the Russian side placed the main emphasis on the need for an urgent and full stop to violence on either side, and for immediate concrete steps to carry out the reforms declared by the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the presidential press service said.
“It was also stressed that the opposition should not avoid the dialogue proposed by the authorities because this is the only way to restore civil peace and accord and Syria’s movement along the road of democratic reforms,” it said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier urged all sides in Syria to refrain from violence and continue to look for fair and lawful solutions to burning problems.
Moscow “is worried by growing tensions and confrontation leading to the suffering of innocent people”, the ministry said.
“It is necessary for the government and all public, political and confessional forces in friendly Syria to exclude violence and continue the search for fair solutions to burning problems within the law and on the basis of civil consensus,” it said.
“We firmly believe that only a constructive dialogue, acceleration of large-scale political reforms and transformations in the socio-economic life mapped out by the leadership of Syria can ensure stable and democratic development of the country in the interests of all Syrian citizens,” the statement posted on the ministry's website said.
Damascus highly appreciates Russia’s position on events in Syria, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad said earlier.
“We thank the leadership, the government and the people of Russia and many Russian media for their position on the current events in Syria,” he said.
“Syria is becoming a democratic country with a multi-party system, a country that respects human rights. Protection of people\’s interests is one of the elements of the Syrian policy strategy,” the diplomat said.
According to al-Mikdad, President Bashar al-Assad “favours a political solution to the problems facing Syria”.
He stressed, “Syria really stands up to armed groups, terror and extremism”.
“I am convinced that Syria and the Russian Federation and the whole world should fight terrorism,” he said.