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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russia Retains Stance on Syria After Presidential Elections

RIA Novosti

22:08 06/03/2012

MOSCOW, March 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s stance on Syria has always been based on the principles of international law and it will be not changed after the recent presidential elections, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

A number of European and U.S. high-ranking diplomats called on Moscow to change its position on the Syrian conflict now that the March 4 presidential elections are over and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will assume the post of the Russian leader in May.

“In this regard we would like to call on our American and European partners not to indulge in wishful thinking,” the ministry said in a statement adding that Russia's position is neither agenda-driven nor a subject for domestic election processes.

The ministry said that Russia’s approaches to all domestic conflicts in foreign countries are based on international regulations and the UN Charter.

“First of all, it is about the inadmissibility of interference from abroad, more particularly of a forceful one. In this regard, it would be suitable to stress again that the achievement of a stable Syrian settlement is possible only on the basis of a broad all-national dialogue within which only Syrians will decide on the future development of their government,” the statement said.

Putin earlier warned the West not to interfere in Syria in the run-up to the March 4 vote in Russia and accused the United States of "political engineering" in regions that are "traditionally important" to Russia.

Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria last month and bowed out of an international conference aimed at applying more pressure on the Damascus government over its continued crackdown on anti-government protesters. Both countries have, however, backed calls for humanitarian aid to be allowed to the worst-hit areas.

Rights groups say more than 7,000 people have been killed in almost a year of unrest, which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad blames on "armed terrorist gangs."

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