Russia on Tuesday warned the West that it was "wishful thinking" to expect Moscow to change its stance on the Syria crisis following Vladimir Putin's presidential election victory.
A sharp and even bitingly sarcastic foreign ministry statement dealt a blow to hopes Russia will distance itself from the Syria regime as Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov heads to talks with Arab foreign ministers on Saturday.
"We urge our European and American colleagues not to indulge in wishful thinking," it said. "The Russian position on Syria was never shaped by electoral cycles, in contrast to (that of) some of our Western colleagues."
"Don't judge someone by your standards," it added, using a folksy Russian proverb.
The United States, France and the European Union have all urged Russia to review its line on the Syria crisis and exert more pressure on the regime of Bashar al-Assad in the wake of Putin's crushing election victory on Sunday.
After Putin repeatedly in the campaign played on the idea of a mighty Russia standing up to the West, the EU and the U.S. administrations appeared hopeful he would adopt a more friendly tone with his election triumph sealed.
The foreign ministry said it had taken note of the calls but said they had been made "as if Russia's position on Syria was dictated by the election campaign and Russia would reconsider its approaches when the vote is over."
It said that Russia's stance on Syria was focused on the United Nations and based on "strictly observing the principle of the inadmissibility of outside intervention (in Syria), in particular military."
Only a solution reached by Syrians themselves based on a pan-national dialogue can determine the future of the country, it said.
The U.S. State Department had on Monday said that it was hoping to see from Russia "some fresh attention to the tragedy in Syria now that the elections are passed."
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe urged Putin "to revisit Russia's Syria policy" while EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called on Moscow to join U.N. Security Council efforts to pressure Assad.
Russia and its diplomatic ally China infuriated the West by vetoing in February a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the Assad regime for the bloodshed in Syria and has shown little sign of shifting its policy since.
Moscow has sternly warned against the risks of taking sides in the conflict between Assad and opposition rebels and has accused the West of seeking to arm the opposition with the aim of ousting the regime.
Syria is still a major arms client and regional ally of Moscow, which has kept strong ties with Damascus going back to the alliance between the Soviet Union and Assad's father and predecessor Hafez al-Assad.
Lavrov will on Saturday hold in Cairo closely-watched talks with Arab League foreign ministers, many of whose governments have been bitterly critical of Russia's defiant refusal to condemn the Assad regime outright.
Some observers had last week detected a hint of a cooler tone from Putin towards Assad when he told visiting foreign newspaper editors that Russia has "no special relationship" with his regime.
The foreign ministry said it was still prepared for "constructive cooperation with all interested partners (aiming) to reach a lasting stabilization of the situation in Syria."
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