Saturday, December 22, 2012

Russia denounces West's 'dangerous' stance on Syria

PHOTO | HO | SANA A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) walking along side Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Damascus for talks on February 7, 2012.

PHOTO | HO | SANA A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syria's President Bashar al-Assad (L) walking along side Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov upon his arrival at the presidential palace in Damascus for talks on February 7, 2012.  AFP | SANA

By AFP

MOSCOW

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday denounced the West's "dangerous" stance in support of Syrian rebels seeking to unseat President Bashar al-Assad.

"Our Western colleagues have started dividing terrorists into 'bad' and 'acceptable.' That is very dangerous," he said in an interview with the English-language Russia Today channel.

Lavrov reiterated Moscow's position that the Syrian people should be allowed to decide their own destiny without outside agencies seeking to help oust the regime.

"We are not in the business of regime change," he insisted.

Western nations supporting rebel efforts to oust Assad have asked Moscow to use its influence to get him to stand down in return for a safe refuge and guarantees of his security, according to Lavrov.

"My answer is very simple: Why use us as a postman: If President Assad is interested, then this (plan) should be discussed with him directly," the Russian foreign minister said.

President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Moscow, one of the last supporters of the Assad regime, wanted to avoid "chaos" in Syria, calling for political talks between all parties to take the war-torn country towards a democratic regime.

"We are interested in this because this is all very close to our borders. We really would not like to see any potential changes in Syria to lead to the chaos we are witnessing in other countries of the region," Putin stressed after an EU-Russia summit in Brussels.

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