Russian FM: Important Not to Instigate Confrontation in Syria

Posted September 25th, 2011 at 4:13 pm (UTC-5)
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says it is very important not to instigate confrontation in Syria, which is why the Kremlin is resisting U.S. pressure to demand President Bashar al-Assad's ouster.

Lavrov told CNN television's Global Public Square broadcast on Sunday that it is important not to let what happened in Libya happen in Syria.

He said President Assad has introduced some reforms, and that the opposition must not boycott his calls for a dialogue. He said there can be no adequate reforms without talks.

But Lavrov called on the Syrian government to be more forthcoming on reforms and make sure there is no brutality against civilians and peaceful demonstrators. He also said it is important the demonstrations are not used by those he called armed elements in Syria.

The United Nations estimates that the Assad crackdown on protesters demanding democracy in Syria has killed 2,700 people. A new round of European Union economic sanctions against Syria took effect Saturday.