Lavrov Says Russia Won't Ask Assad to Step Downإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Moscow will not tell Bashar al-Assad to stand down, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, stressing that while the Syrian president was not an ally it was not up to other nations to interfere.
After 10 months of internal conflict in Syria that the United Nations says has killed more than 5,400 people, Russia is under growing pressure to take a firmer line on Assad and his regime.
Russia, a veto-wielding U.N. Security Council member, has exasperated the West by insisting it will not back a resolution calling on Assad to go.
"I don't think Russian policy is about asking people to step down. Regime change is not our profession." Lavrov said in Australia on Tuesday.
"It is up to the Syrians themselves to decide how to run the country, how to introduce the reforms, what kind of reforms, without any outside interference," he told the national broadcaster ABC.
"We're not a friend, we're not an ally of president Assad. We never said that president Assad remaining in power is the solution to the crisis."
A draft U.N. resolution on Syria seen by Agence France Presse calls for the regime to put an immediate stop to violence against protesters and for Assad to hand power to his deputy.