MOSCOW, September 18 (RIA Novosti) – Syria’s President Bashar Assad thanked Moscow on Wednesday for supporting Damascus as it was confronted with the threat of foreign intervention and terrorism, the Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported.
At a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, Assad said Russia’s stance could lead to the establishment of a new balance of power in the world, SANA reported.
Ryabkov told reporters after the talks in Damascus that Assad came forward with “important” proposals and evaluations during the meeting, but gave no further details.
The Russian diplomat also said that moderate Syrian opposition envoys who met with him in the Russian Embassy in Damascus earlier in the day shared Russia’s stance that the ongoing civil war in the country could be ended only through political means.
He also said the Syrian opposition positively responded to Russia’s proposal to engage in a planned international reconciliation conference in Geneva, due to bring the Syrian government and opposition forces to the negotiating table.
The Russian Embassy’s press attaché in Syria told RIA Novosti that on Tuesday, Ryabkov had spent several hours in talks with the Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem.
Tuesday’s negotiations touched on the Russian-US plan to place Syrian chemical weapons stockpiles under international control.
The United States is pushing for a UN Security Council resolution that would allow the use of military force against Syria in response to its failure to comply with the plan, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tuesday, hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that option is a nonstarter.
Updated at 17:31 with SANA report and new headline.
Updated at 23:49 with more details from Ryabkov