Russia favours more time for Assad for reforms

August 20th, 2011 - 1:25 am ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Aug 19 (IANS) Russia has declined to endorse calls by the US and European Union member states asking Syrian President Bashar Al Assad to step down, favouring more time for introducing further reforms in the country, RIA Novosti reported.

Russia does not support calls by the US and EU member states for President Assad’s resignation, the Russian foreign ministry said Friday.

“Our position regarding events in Syria is that the country’s leadership should receive enough time to implement its large-scale political and economic reform programme,” a ministry statement said.

The ministry also said that Damascus had taken “substantial steps” in the direction of reforms with the lifting of the decade-long state of emergency.

“We do not share the US and EU viewpoint regarding President Assad,” the ministry said.

Meanwhile, four members of the UN Security Council - Britain, France, Germany and Portugal - will begin working on a Security Council resolution on sanctions against Syria, Britain’s deputy permanent representative to the UN has said.

The government crackdown on opposition protests is estimated to have killed at least 2,000 civilians since demonstrations began in Syria five months ago.

On Wednesday, Assad told UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over phone that all operations against protesters in Syria had been halted.

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