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Russia open to dialogue with all Syrian parties

MOSCOW, Dec. 27 — Moscow is open to dialogue with all Syrian parties and did not support any side in the conflict, Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Russia did not rule out the possibility of contacting the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, the ministry's spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told reporters.

"We don't reject that dialogue and are engaged very actively in it with all opposition groups, which are also interested in verifying the Russian position," he said.

Earlier this month, Russia accused the United States of contradicting the Geneva communique, due to Washington's recognition of the national coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.

Lukashevich said the situation in Syria had been developing under the worst-case scenario and it was up to Syrians to make a decision on whether president Bashar al-Assad could run for that post again.

He reiterated Moscow's position that the armed conflict in Syria could not be resolved by military means.

On Thursday, a visiting Syrian government delegation led by Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad held brief talks with Russian officials. Both the delegation and the Russian Foreign Ministry made no comment after their meeting.

Lukashevich would not give a direct answer to a reporter's question on whether Russian warships were heading to Syria for evacuation of Russian citizens stationed there.

"This is a sensitive topic so we can't talk about some details. Still, naturally, the plans are changing, the situation deteriorates, so one should be ready for any scenario," he said, adding the safety of Russian citizens abroad was the ministry's priority.

On Tuesday, Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov denied claims Russian ships were carrying officers to Syria, saying the cruises were for performing missions in "various parts of the globe." (PNA/Xinhua)


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