International support for the Syrian opposition could lead to “new bloodshed” in the country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday.
Lavrov, who is meeting with his French counterpart Alain Juppe in Moscow, said that the refusal of the Syrian opposition to hold talks with the government meant they were seeking international backing similar to that received by the Libyan rebels.
Lavrov said that Syrians should “sit at the negotiating table” and solve their problems themselves.
Juppe however said that “the Syrian regime has committed a crime against humanity, and the international sanctions against Damascus are justified.”
The French diplomat also said that Russia was a useful diplomatic partner in resolving conflicts in Libya and Syria.
“Russia is very important and favored partner for us in terms of bilateral relations,” he said.
The uprising against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule began in February. An international military operation “to protect civilians” in Libya began on March 19 following a UN resolution. Russia was among the countries who refrained from voting for the resolution.
More than 2,200 people have been killed in the crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria since the uprising against President Bashar al Assad broke out in March.