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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Moscow, Turkey to Pool Efforts on Syria Crisis

RIA Novosti

21:18 08/02/2012 MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on Wednesday to coordinate their efforts in search for a solution to the Syria crisis, the Kremlin press service said.

“Medvedev stressed the need to continue the search for coordinated approaches to help the Syrians solve the crisis themselves, without outside interference, with complete respect for Syria’s sovereignty,” the press service said.

Medvedev and Erdogan discussed the situation in Syria in a telephone conversation initiated by the Turkish side.

Medvedev also defended the Russian-Chinese veto on a UN Security Council resolution on Syria that calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step down.

“That resolution would not have been conducive to the search for a peaceful solution to the crisis,” Medvedev was quoted as saying.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said earlier in the day that Russia condemns the ongoing violence in Syria but is against outside interference.

"We certainly condemn all violence wherever it comes from. However, you cannot act like a bull in a china shop," he 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.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov earlier on Wednesday called on the Arab world, the United States and Europe to refrain from passing judgment on the national dialogue in Syria that Moscow had pledged to assist.

Meanwhile, White House Spokesman Jay Carney said Russia “must realize that betting everything on Assad is a recipe for failure - not just for Russia’s interests in Syria, but for the stability of the region and for Syria’s future.”

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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