Russia ready to assist Syrian dialogue – FM Lavrov
Russia is willing to help the opposing sides in the Syrian political crisis to start a reconciliation dialogue, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday, RIA Novosti reported.
"We feel the responsibility to make everything possible to initiate an internal dialogue in Syria," Lavrov said after a meeting of APEC foreign ministers in Honolulu.
Lavrov expressed regret over the fact that certain representatives of the Syrian opposition, especially those residing in the United States and in Turkey, are boycotting any proposals aimed at the talks with the Syrian authorities.
"We will attempt to convince [the opposition] to take a more constructive approach and to care about their country," the minister said.
A delegation of the opposition Syrian National Council is expected to visit Moscow next week to meet with Lavrov and Russian lawmakers.
Opposition leaders maintain that Syrian authorities continue to use force against "peaceful demonstrations" and many people were killed or injured as a result.
Meanwhile, the authorities say that the troops and police are clashing with militants, who are financed from abroad and attack administrative bodies and ordinary citizens.
According to UN estimates, more than 3,500 people have been killed in Syria since mid-March, when first protests against President Bashar al-Assad's regime began.
Russia and China vetoed in October a UN Security Council draft resolution that urged the Syrian regime to immediately stop using violence against protesters or face "targeted measures."
However, Moscow and Beijing have called on the Syrian government to quickly carry out its commitment of political reform and to resume and promote an inclusive political process that involves the wide participation of all parties in the country.