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Putin warns of protracted civil war in Syria

(Xinhua)

09:56, July 24, 2012

MOSCOW, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday urged conflicting sides in Syria to start negotiations and reach compromise so as to avoid a protracted civil war.

"Current Syrian leadership as well as the conflicting side, the so-called 'armed opposition,' must find strength and organize a negotiation process, to tune it so that a mutually acceptable compromise for the country's future could be reached," Putin told reporters after his meeting with visiting Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Putin noted that the future of Syria should be determined on the base of talks and compromises.

"We believe the future of the country should not be decided by the victory or defeat of one side but under the framework of negotiations based on talks and compromises. Both the government and armed opposition must stop violence and start negotiations so as to decide how the country will live in future," Putin said in a statement on the Kremlin website.

Power changing process in Syria with non-constitutional means would lead to a domestic war, the president warned, adding that Russia did not want Syria to become another Afghanistan where a civil war rages for years.

"Opposition and today's leadership could simply swap their places - former become the leadership, latter become the opposition, so the civil war will last indefinitely long," Putin said.

Meanwhile, Putin welcomed the UN decision to extend its observing mission in Syria.

"This is an evidence that despite some discords in defining what is primary, what is secondary, the UN floor allows itself to find compromise and agreement between all participating parties for the common good," Putin said.

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