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Russian navy drills in Mediterranean not related to Syria: official

(Xinhua)

10:00, November 30, 2011

MOSCOW, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- The dispatch of Russian navy warships to the Mediterranean Sea was a part of scheduled exercises and not related to the situation in Syria, Russian Chief of the General Staff Nikolai Makarov said Tuesday.

"We have planned exercises (in the region), which have nothing to do with Syria," Makarov told reporters in Yekaterinburg.

Makarov's remarks followed recent reports saying that a group of Russian warships, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov, the country's only aircraft carrier, would arrive at the Syrian port of Tartus in December or early January.

In recent months, Russia has repeated its calls on Syria's relevant parties to start negotiations and seek a peaceful settlement to the crisis in the country.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also warned this month that external forces are seeking to deteriorate the situation in Syria in order to justify their interference in Syria's internal political affairs.

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