No Russian asylum for Syrian president: Minister

March 21st, 2012 - 8:37 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, March 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Moscow has not told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave Syria and take refuge in Russia, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

“Nobody invited him to Moscow,” Lavrov said, answering a question on whether it would be better for al-Assad to resign and flee to Moscow to avoid the fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by a triumphant mob in October last year.

“It’s up to Assad to decide. He won’t make the decision because someone from Russia asked him to,” the foreign minister said in an interview with Kommersant FM radio.

He said Western and Arab politicians who press for al-Assad’s resignation should first “answer the question of how it all would look and who would streamline the (power transition) process”.

“Taking into account the great discord among the Syrian opposition forces, there is no clear answer to that question yet,” Lavrov said.

Russia did not use its veto in the UN Security Council to block intervention in Libya, which was started under the pretext of protecting civilians from the crackdown by Gaddafi’s forces.

However, in February Russia and China vetoed a US-backed resolution calling on al-Assad to step down.

A year-long uprising against al-Assad has claimed over 8,000 lives.

–IANS/RIA Novosti
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