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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

No Russian Asylum Proposal for Syria’s Assad - Lavrov

RIA Novosti

22:01 20/03/2012 MOSCOW, March 20 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow has not told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave Syria and take refuge in Russia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with the Kommersant FM radio station on Tuesday.

“Nobody invited him to Moscow,” Lavrov said, answering a question on whether it would be better for Assad to resign and flee to Moscow to avoid the fate of deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was murdered by a triumphant mob last October.

“It’s up to Assad to decide. He won't make the decision because someone from Russia asked him to,” the foreign minister went on.

He said that Western and Arab politicians who press for Assad’s resignation should first “answer the question of how it all would look and who would streamline the [power transition] process.”

“Taking into account the great discord among the Syrian opposition forces, there is no clear answer to that question yet,” Lavrov said.

Russia did not use its veto in the UN Security Council to block intervention in Libya, which was started under the pretext of protecting civilians from the crackdown by Gaddafi's forces.

However, Russia and China vetoed a U.S.-backed resolution calling on Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to step down in February.

Russian Prime Minister and President-elect Vladimir Putin said in his campaign article on foreign policy that the implementation of a Libyan scenario in Syria, where a year-long uprising against al-Assad claimed over 8,000 lives, should not be allowed.

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