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Russia is seriously concerned with position of Orthodox communities in Syria, Lavrov says

February 25, 2014, 23:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, February 25, /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that Russia was seriously concerned with the fate of minorities, especially Orthodox communities in Syria and other regional states.

“We are witnessing a mass exodus of Christians from the region who have been an integral part of the Middle East mosaic for centuries,” Lavrov said at the presentation of a book titled “The Patriarchates of Antioch and Jerusalem in the Policy of the Russian Empire” by Mikhail Yakushev, the first vice-president of the St. Andrew the First Called Foundation, on Tuesday. “Today, the Middle East is a top international priority,” Lavrov said.

“I believe that a wave of upheavals in the Arab world affects not only the interests of the region’s states but also of all leading international players. It can have far-reaching consequences, including in the context of inter-cultural and inter-religious relations,” Lavrov went on to say.

“Russia pursues a consistent policy aimed at transformation through evolution with account taken of historical and cultural peculiarities of people residing in this region,” the Russian foreign minister stressed.

“Efforts to reach a political settlement of various situations in compliance with international law without outside interference through recognition and respect of all ethnic groups and confessions are a vital element of our position,” Lavrov said.

“Naturally, we staunchly come out against any manifestations of extremism which threatens to undermine the basis of subsistence of this multi-confessional region,” Lavrov stressed.

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