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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Medvedev to Sarkozy on Syria: Avoid Hasty Unilateral Steps

RIA Novosti

23:12 08/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a telephone conversation that the international community's position on Syria should be objective and balanced, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

Medvedev informed Sarkozy of the meeting on Tuesday between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a Russian delegation headed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov where it was stated that Moscow is prepared to continue being a mediator in the Syrian crisis, but the bloodbath in Syria is unacceptable.

"In context of continuing the difficult work, including by the UN Security Council, to regulate the Syrian crisis, Medvedev called on [Russia's] partners to avoid any hasty unilateral steps," the Kremlin's press service said.

At least 5,400 people have been killed in the Syrian government's 11-month crackdown on protesters, according to the UN. Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed gangs affiliated with al-Qaeda and say more than 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.

The West has been trying to persuade Moscow to support a resolution effectively authorizing a military operation but Russia has repeatedly insisted that the Western drive for a stronger crackdown on Syria is preparation for a “Libyan scenario.”

Russia, one of President al-Assad’s firm supporters during the uprising against his regime, indicated earlier this week that it would veto the draft resolution calling on Assad to step down. Moscow has proposed its own draft, which the West criticized as being too soft.

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