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Russia rejects foreign interference in nations' internal affairs

03-13-2012 08:10 BJT Special Report:Crisis in Syria |

UNITED NATIONS, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said here Monday that the international community should not impose unwanted outside interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.

Lavrov's statement came as he addressed reporters outside of the UN Security Council chambers. He had participated earlier in the day in a council meeting on the situation in the Middle East and held talks with several high-level officials.

"I believe it was a very useful meeting of the Security Council which was important at this juncture when the events in the Middle East and North Africa are evolving," Lavrov said. "It is important for the international community from time-to-time to get together and see what we can do to make sure that these processes are going naturally on the basis of the will of the people of the countries of the region, without outside interference, without imposing any prejudged solutions to a situation in one country or another."

On the topic of Syria, which was a frequent subject of discussion during the meeting on the Middle East, Lavrov said that Russia prioritizes saving lives and facilitating a ceasefire in the troubled country.

Lavrov's meetings with high-level officials included talks with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In his discussion with Ban, according to readout from the office of the UN spokesman, there was mention of Syria as well as several other issues.

"They discussed a range of issues, including the situation in Syria and the way forward with regard to international efforts under the leadership of Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan," said the readout. "The secretary-general and the foreign minister also exchanged views on the situations in Libya and Afghanistan."

Speaking to reporters, Lavrov emphasized that in his conversations earlier in the day with regards to Syria there was a "growing understanding of the need not to talk to each other on the basis of take it or leave it but to bring the positions together and to be guided not by the desire of revenge or punishment," but instead "by the basic interests of the Syrian people."

Russia has stood against other countries in the council who have advocated an Arab League (AL) plan that would call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Russia and China vetoed a draft resolution on that would have supported the AL plan on Feb. 4.

Lavrov urged the international community to seek common ground and compromise, in an effort to avoid a situation comparable to the aftermath of Security Council resolutions on Libya.

"Lets try to be respectful to each other, respectful to each other's position and let's find common approaches, but approaches which would be formulated in very clear terms and which would exclude a repetition of the situation with the Libyan resolutions, both of which were grossly violated in spite of the fact that the first one was consensus, and the decisions which would not be ambiguous," he said.

Russia has been working to solve the crisis between the Assad government and the opposition for many months, Lavrov told reporters.

"I will remind you that it was on the Russian initiative that as early as August last year, the Security Council adopted a statement where all the principles of resolving this crisis were set forth, including the importance of supporting the Syrians themselves to encourage the Syrian-led inclusive dialogue, to exclude any outside interference and so on and so forth," said the foreign minister.

He added that Russia has proposed other resolutions on Syria since August 2011, but these have been rejected by other states on the council.

Lavrov said that he hoped the efforts of Kofi Annan, as the joint UN-AL envoy to Syria, would lead to a positive outcome.

"It's about saving lives," he said. "Ceasefire is an absolute must, and we sincerely hope that the mission headed by Kofi Annan would succeed in developing some ideas which would make it possible for us to agree on how to stop the bloodshed immediately, how to stop the fighting irrespective of the source of the violence."

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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