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Russia dismisses giving Assad asylum rumors

07-06-2012 04:37 BJT

MOSCOW, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Russia was not intended to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a political asylum and called such rumors a joke, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

During recent contacts with foreign colleagues on Syria issues, Lavrov was surprised to know that some foreign countries were convinced Moscow would take Assad to Russia and "thus resolve all problems of the Syria people."

Such rumors are unfair attempts to mislead the public and a misunderstanding of Russia's stance, Lavrov told reporters after meeting with German colleague Gido Westerwelle.

The minister recalled that on June 1 during President Vladimir Putin's visit to Berlin, German diplomats suggested it would be good if Russia gives Assad an asylum.

"We took it as a joke. So we replied with a joke as well: you Germans would better take Mr. Assad if he wants to go somewhere. I though that joke was over," Lavrov said.

"It is senseless to talk about Assad's fortune until the Syrians sit at the table for negotiations," he said, adding that Moscow would like to see the agreements reached in Geneva by the action group for Syria on June 30 be implemented.

"We heard Damascus signaled its readiness to work on that base but no such words from the opposition. On the contrary, I heard statements refuting the Geneva communique," said the senior diplomat.

He reiterated that Moscow stood for the crisis in Syria to be settled by the Syrian people themselves. Meanwhile, Russia could only support a UN-backed peacekeeping operation if Damascus agreed to it, Lavrov said.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: Xinhua

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