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Russia opposes division of Syria, but believes it is internal affair

September 21, 2013, 14:49 UTC+3

"We cannot influence it,” Ivanov noted

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Photo ITAR-TASS / Sergei Bobylev

Photo ITAR-TASS / Sergei Bobylev

STOCKHOLM, September 21 (Itar-Tass) - Russia does not accept division of Syria, but believes it is an internal affair of the state, Kremlin Administration Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov told reporters in Stockholm on Saturday.

"No, we do not accept it. But it is an internal affair of Syria. We cannot influence it. But Christians are killed there, I have said about it,” Ivanov noted.

Russia will not always use a veto in the United Nations Security Council only on principle, the Kremlin official noted. He said he was asked the question at the conference on security on Saturday and he answered "no". Russian President Vladimir Putin also said about it at the Valdai International Discussion Club meeting, Ivanov noted.

According to the official, if it becomes clear and honestly and unequivocally proved that it is established who used chemical weapons in Syria, it will be quite a different matter. "But it must be proved. And while it is not so, we have the same position," he added.

Russia may change its position on Syria if it gets to know that Bashar Assad cheats, Ivanov said, when answering questions during the meeting of the tenth conference of the London International Strategic Studies Institute in Stockholm.

"I speak now theoretically and hypothetically. But if we become sure that Assad cheats, we may change our position," he said.

The official also proposed to think over one more issue -- a hypothetically possible scenario if it is established that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian official authorities and the opposition. "I can imagine what the world community will do then," Ivanov said.

Speaking about Russia's steps in the situation, the official noted "Only diplomatic ways. What else can we do?"

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