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Moscow reiterates call for non-interference in Mideast unrest

RIA Novosti

23:02 18/02/2011 MOSCOW, February 18 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Foreign Ministry is greatly concerned by the wave of civil unrest which has swept across the Arab world, and believes that any interference in the tumult is inappropriate, official spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said on Friday.

Inspired by the recent revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, protests and violence continue across the Arab world, ranging from riot police storming a square in Bahrain to clashes between security forces and protesters in Libya and Yemeni police opening fire on a crowd of demonstrators.

"This is a region close to us; Russia has sincere and long-standing ties with its peoples. We want to see the Middle Eastern and North African states prospering, with balanced political and social-economic systems," Lukashevich said.

"Further aggravation of the [Mideast] crisis could turn the tap for downright criminals whose aims contradict peoples' desires," he added.

Moscow is convinced that only in-depth and patient national dialogue can tone down the emotions involved, Lukashevich said. "In other words, all sides must demonstrate a responsible attitude to the implementation of long overdue democratic reforms."

"We reiterate our principled position that any external interference in the internal political processes of countries in the region is unallowable. In this very moment, when so much is being decided, any external pressure, any of imposition of 'reformist' models that do not take into account the peculiarities of the Arab states, could worsen the atmosphere and hamper the reaching of a civil accord," Lukashevich said.

The White House also condemned the spread of Mideast violence. "The United States urges the governments of Bahrain, Libya and Yemen to show restraint in responding to peaceful protests, and to respect the rights of their people," a statement by U.S. President Barrack Obama issued on Friday said.

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