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Russia involvement in Syria armed conflict out of question – Lavrov

November 28, 2012, 10:56 UTC+3

Tartus naval logistics bade is functioning in the normal mode

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MOSCOW, November 28 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s involvement in the armed conflict in Syria is out of the question, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday, answering a question of the Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts) newspaper.

“Russia’s involvement in the armed conflict is absolutely out of the question,” he said. “The Tartus naval logistics bade is functioning in the normal mode.” “I’d like to stress that our long-term cooperation in the military-technical sphere serves, above all, the maintenance of stability in the Middle East and has never been aimed at supporting any forces in the Syrian internal arena,” the minister said.

“We are absolutely against outside, the more so force interference into what is happening in Syria,” the minister continued. “We are doing everything in our power to stop the bloodshed, to encourage the sides to sit down at the negotiating table so that the Syrians themselves could agree upon the parameters of the future political system their country. This is on which the leading states agreed at a meeting in Geneva on June 30. To implement these agreements we work closely with tНовости ENGhe government and with all the opposition groups. We believe that all other external players that have influence in Syrian affairs should also make efforts to get all the sides to implement the approach on which the Geneva meeting participants agreed.”

“If the ‘war to the bitter end’ against the regime of Bashar al-Assad is encouraged instead, it will only exacerbate the suffering of the Syrian people, aggravating the already explosive situation in the Middle East,” Lavrov stressed.

“Before the beginning of the tragedy, a large Russian diaspora lived in Syria. Many of our citizens have had to return to Russia,” the minister said. “But thousands of Russians stayed in the country. We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide information about any changes affecting the interests of Russian citizens. We focus on their security.”

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