Friday, March 8, 2013

Fwd: Syria

'Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says there is "absolutely" no chance of Moscow telling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand down.


He told the BBC that Russia was not in the "regime-change game".


The main opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, has long insisted that President Assad must go before any talks take place.


Mr Lavrov is due to visit London next week for talks with UK Foreign Secretary William Hague.


Both countries say the Syrian crisis will top the agenda. Russia has traditionally been a close ally of the Syrian government and is the country's biggest arms supplier.


But while there is agreement that a negotiated settlement is the best way forward, Mr Lavrov told the BBC there was no question of Russia asking President Assad to stand aside.


"I can only say it is not for us to decide who should lead Syria. It is for the Syrians to decide," he said.


Asked if there was any chance of Russia urging President Assad to stand aside, he said: "Absolutely not. You know that we are not in the regime-change game. We are against interference in domestic conflicts.'


We asked Mubarek in Egypt to step aside when his people protested. Russia won't ask Syria's Assad to step aside after killing 40,000 Syrians.

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