Russian diplomat calls for Syrian opposition’s role in national dialogue

MOSCOW, September 5 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met with the Syrian ambassador in Moscow on Monday, September 5, to discuss Russian-Syrian relations, the situation in Syria and around it, as well as pressing issues on the regional and international agenda.

Bogdanov confirmed Russia’s position of principle that “external interference in Syrian affairs is inadmissible” and that “a full stop to all violence in the country and speedy implementation of the announced political and socio-economic reforms and broad national dialogue with the participation of the opposition are needed”, the Foreign Ministry said.

President Dmitry Medvedev sent a message to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad earlier, urging the authorities and the opposition to stop violence and start declared reforms in the country.

“In the course of the conversation, while discussing the situation in Syria, the Russian side placed the main emphasis on the need for an urgent and full stop to violence on either side, and for immediate concrete steps to carry out the reforms declared by the leadership of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the presidential press service said.

“It was also stressed that the opposition should not avoid the dialogue proposed by the authorities because this is the only way to restore civil peace and accord and Syria’ s movement along the road of democratic reforms,” it said.

Bogdanov delivered the message in Damascus.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier urged all sides in Syria to refrain from violence and continue to look for fair and lawful solutions to burning problems.

Moscow “is worried by growing tensions and confrontation leading to the suffering of innocent people”, the ministry said.

“It is necessary for the government and all public, political and confessional forces in friendly Syria to exclude violence and continue the search for fair solutions to burning problems within the law and on the basis of civil consensus,” it said.

“We firmly believe that only a constructive dialogue, acceleration of large-scale political reforms and transformations in the socio-economic life mapped out by the leadership of Syria can ensure stable and democratic development of the country in the interests of all Syrian citizens,” the statement posted on the ministry’s website said.

Damascus highly appreciates Russia’s position on events in Syria, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mikdad said earlier.

“We thank the leadership, the government and the people of Russia and many Russian media for their position on the current events in Syria,” he told Russia Today television on August 24.

“Syria is becoming a democratic country with a multi-party system, a country that respects human rights. Protection of people’s interests is one of the elements of the Syrian policy strategy,” the diplomat said.

According to al-Mikdad, President Bashar al-Assad “favours a political solution to the problems facing Syria”.

He stressed, “Syria really stands up to armed groups, terror and extremism”.

“I am convinced that Syria and the Russian Federation and the whole world should fight terrorism,” he said.

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