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Assad receives a message on the Russian vision towards regional issues

(Xinhua)

10:04, August 30, 2011

DAMASCUS, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received Monday a message from his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev dealing with bilateral relations and Russia's vision towards the recent developments in the region, especially in Syria, the official news agency SANA reported.

The message was handed over to Assad by Russian deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov, who flew to Syria late Sunday to discuss the draft law introduced Friday by Russia to the UN Security Council on Syria, which calls for Assad's government to halt its violence against protesters and expedite reforms.

SANA said Assad has expressed "appreciation of Russia's balanced stance towards the developments in Syria."

Assad said "each step Syria has taken towards issuing laws that lay foundations for a new political era was followed by an escalation of the regional and international campaign towards Syria's Arab and regional role."

Bogdanov voiced his country's support to the process of reforms Syria has commenced in the economic and political fields, underlining the importance of continued coordination between the two countries in all fields.

The Russian envoy's visit aims likely to feel out Syria's position on the draft resolution and to what extent Damascus would commit itself to its provisions if Russia and China were able to pass it in the Security Council instead of the Europeans' proposed one.

The Russian draft stresses that the only solution to the current crisis is "an inclusive and Syrian-led political process," and urges the opposition to engage in political dialogue with the government.

On Wednesday, Russia's ambassador to the U.N. Security Council told reporters outside council chambers that instead of punishing Syria, the council should help end the violence with dialogue and diplomacy, hinting he may veto a draft resolution being circulated to impose an arms embargo and other measures on Assad's regime.

Al-Watan newspaper said Bogdanov is expected to carry with him to Damascus his country's concerns over the possibility that the West might choose to pass its resolutions and plans through the NATO but not the UN Security Council.

Therefore, the envoy would call for an instant implementation of what the Russian draft resolution calls for in order to ward off any foreign intervention in Syria's internal affairs, Al-Watan said.

It added that the envoy would make clear appeals to the Syrian opposition to deal positively with the Syrian government's calls to hold a broad national dialogue conference.

Al-Watan said Moscow is expected to play a positive role in launching national dialogue in Syria.

Syria has blamed the five-month-long unrest across the country on armed groups and foreign conspiracy and stressed that it would track down gunmen who have intimidated the people and damaged public and private properties.

Syria's government has simultaneously vowed to go on with the process of reforms. A day earlier, Assad has endorsed the media law that would stop government censorship over local and foreign publications.

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